Background: If patients return early in the course of acute, uncomplicated back pain to their normal activities, their symptoms improve more quickly. Written detailed patient information can have a positive effect on knowledge and can increase physical activity. In this study the effect of a short evidence-based back pain leaflet on knowledge, function and patients' beliefs was investigated.
Methods: A randomised controlled trial was carried out in 12 primary care practices. Patients with acute, uncomplicated back pain received either the back-pain specific information (intervention) or a leaflet without content regarding back pain (control). Participants' data were inquired before consultation of the general practitioner, as well as 1 week and 3 months later. Outcome measures were SF-36, FABQ-D, FFbH-R, knowledge concerning back pain, frequency of use of the leaflet, usefulness of the information and change of behaviour.
Results: The included patients totaled 174. The response rates were 74.7% (1 week) and 67% (3 months). Patients receiving the intervention leaflet showed better knowledge at 1 week and greater improvement in function scores at 3 months. There was no effect on patients' beliefs. Patients of the intervention group reported more activity in everyday life.
Conclusion: Short written information may have small, in total possibly positive effects on knowledge, support of activity and function in patients with acute, uncomplicated back pain.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.