Pain neurophysiology education for the management of individuals with chronic low back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis

Man Ther. 2011 Dec;16(6):544-9. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Pain neurophysiology education (PNE) is a form of education for patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the evidence for PNE in the management of pateints with CLBP. A literature search of MEDLINE, CINAHL and AMED was performed from 1996(01)-2010(09). RCT appraisal and synthesis was assessed using the Cochrane Back Review Group (CBRG) guidelines. The main outcome measures were pain, physical-function, psychological-function, and social-function. Two moderate quality RCTs (n=122) were included in the final review. According to the CBRG criteria there was very low quality evidence that PNE is beneficial for pain, physical-function, psychological-function, and social-function. Meta-analysis found PNE produced statistically significant but clinically small improvements in short-term pain of 5mm (0, 10.0mm) [mean difference (95%CI)] on the 100mm VAS. This review was limited by the small number of studies (n=2) that met the inclusion criteria and by the fact that both studies were produced by the same group that published the PNE manual. These factors contributed to the relatively low grading of the evidence. There is a need for more studies investigating PNE by different research groups to support early promising findings. Until then firm clinical recommendations cannot be made.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Neurophysiology / education
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom