Long-term effects of interprofessional biopsychosocial rehabilitation for adults with chronic non-specific low back pain: a multicentre, quasi-experimental study

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 13;10(3):e0118609. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118609. eCollection 2015.


Background: Improvement of the long-term effectiveness of multidisciplinary ortho-paedic rehabilitation (MOR) in the management of chronic non-specific low back pain (CLBP) remains a central issue for health care in Germany. We developed an interprofessional and interdisciplinary, biopsychosocial rehabilitation concept named "PASTOR" to promote self-management in adults with CLBP and compared its effectiveness with the current model of MOR.

Methods: A multicentre quasi-experimental study with three measurement time points was implemented. 680 adults aged 18 to 65 with CLBP were assed for eligibil-ity in three inpatient rehabilitation centres in Germany. At first the effects of the MOR, with a total extent of 48 hours (control group), were assessed. Thereafter, PASTOR was implemented and evaluated in the same centres (intervention group). It consisted of six interprofessional modules, which were provided on 12 days in fixed groups, with a total extent of 48 hours. Participants were assessed with self-report measures at baseline, discharge, and 12 months for functional ability (primary outcome) using the Hannover Functional Ability Questionnaire (FFbH-R) and vari-ous secondary outcomes (e.g. pain, health status, physical activity, pain coping, pain-related cognitions).

Results: In total 536 participants were consecutively assigned to PASTOR (n=266) or MOR (n=270). At 12 months, complete data of 368 participants was available. The adjusted between-group difference in the FFbH-R at 12 months was 6.58 (95% CI 3.38 to 9.78) using complete data and 3.56 (95% CI 0.45 to 6.67) using available da-ta, corresponding to significant small-to-medium effect sizes of d=0.42 (p<0.001) and d=0.10 (p=0.025) in favour of PASTOR. Further improvements in secondary out-comes were also observed in favour of PASTOR.

Conclusion: The interprofessional and interdisciplinary, biopsychosocial rehabilita-tion program PASTOR shows some improvements of the long-term effectiveness of inpatient rehabilitation in the management of adults with CLBP. Further insights into mechanisms of action of complex intervention programs are required.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02056951.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lost to Follow-Up
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02056951

Grant support

This project was funded in the module two of the first funding phase by the German Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund) within the Research funding for care-oriented research “Chronic diseases and patient orientation” (http://www.forschung-patientenorientierung.de/index.php/projects/first-funding-phase/module-two-phase-1/pastor-pfeifer.html) (grant code 0421-FSCP-0529). The authors acknowledge support by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) within the funding programme Open Access Publishing. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.