We aimed to evaluate the effects of yoga and eurythmy therapy compared to conventional physiotherapy exercises in patients with chronic low back pain. In a three-armed, multicentre, randomized controlled trial, patients with chronic low back pain were treated for 8 weeks in group sessions (75 minutes once per week). Primary outcome was patients' physical disability (measured by RMDQ) from baseline to week 8. Secondary outcome variables were pain intensity and pain-related bothersomeness (VAS), health-related quality of life (SF-12) and life satisfaction (BMLSS). Outcomes were assessed at baseline, after the intervention at 8 weeks and at a 16-week follow up. Data of 274 participants were used for statistical analyses. There were no significant differences between the three groups for the primary and all secondary outcomes. In all groups, RMDQ decreased comparably at 8 weeks, but did not reach clinical meaningfulness. Pain intensity and pain-related bothersomeness decreased, while quality of life increased in all 3 groups. In explorative general linear models for the SF-12's mental health component participants in the eurythmy arm benefitted significantly more compared to physiotherapy and yoga. Furthermore, within-group analyses showed improvements of SF-12 mental score for yoga and eurythmy therapy only. All interventions were safe. Clinical Trials Register: DRKS-ID: DRKS00004651 Perspective: This article presents the results of a multicentre three-armed randomized controlled trial on the clinical effects of three 8-week programs in patients with chronic low back pain. Compared to the 'gold standard' of conventional physiotherapeutic exercises, eurythmy therapy and yoga therapy lead to comparable symptomatic improvements in patients with chronic low back pain. However, the within-group effect sizes were small to moderate and did not reach clinical meaningfulness on patients' physical disability (RMDQ).
Keywords: Randomized controlled trial; chronic low back pain; eurythmy therapy; physiotherapy; yoga.
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