Objective: Functional restoration programs for chronic low back pain (CLBP) have been shown to be successful in improving function and, to a lesser extent, in reducing pain. The Munich Functional Restoration Program (MFRP) is a 4-week outpatient program designed to reduce pain and to improve health-related quality of life in patients with a long history of CLBP.
Design: In a retrospective matched concurrent-controls therapeutic study, 44 patients with CLBP, who had either undergone MFRP or received an outpatient standard treatment (control) after initial evaluation at the pain center, completed questionnaires 1 year after the respective therapy (t1). The following parameters were assessed: health-related quality of life with Short Form-36 (SF-36), Pain Disability Index (PDI), Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for pain, depression with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Test (CES-D), and occupational situation. These data were compared with baseline values assessed by a questionnaire completed before starting the respective treatment (baseline, t0).
Results: Compared with control, NRS and PDI were significantly better in patients completing the MFRP. Patients of the MFRP group showed also a significant reduction in CES-D as well as an improvement in three of eight SF-36 subscales. No changes were detected in the control group receiving standard treatment.
Conclusions: Compared with standard treatment, a functional restoration program for CLBP significantly improves some aspects of health-related quality of life. It results in a decrease of pain and pain-related disability even in patients with a long history of CLBP.