A Systematic Review of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Persons With Non-specific Low Back Pain With and Without Radiculopathy: Identification of Best Evidence for Rehabilitation to Develop the WHO's Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2023 Nov;104(11):1913-1927. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2023.02.022. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Objective: To Identify evidence-based rehabilitation interventions for persons with non-specific low back pain (LBP) with and without radiculopathy and to develop recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) to inform the World Health Organization's (WHO) Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation (PIR).

Data source: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, National Health Services Economic Evaluation Database, Health Technology Assessment Database, PEDro, the Trip Database, the Index to Chiropractic Literature and the gray literature.

Study selection: Eligible guidelines were (1) published between 2009 and 2019 in English, French, Italian, or Swedish; (2) included adults or children with non-specific LBP with or without radiculopathy; and (3) assessed the benefits of rehabilitation interventions on functioning. Pairs of independent reviewers assessed the quality of the CPGs using AGREE II.

Data synthesis: We identified 4 high-quality CPGs. Recommended interventions included (1) education about recovery expectations, self-management strategies, and maintenance of usual activities; (2) multimodal approaches incorporating education, exercise, and spinal manipulation; (3) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs combined with education in the acute stage; and (4) intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation that includes exercise and cognitive/behavioral interventions for persistent pain. We did not identify high-quality CPGs for people younger than 16 years of age.

Conclusion: We developed evidence-based recommendations from high-quality CPGs to inform the WHO PIR for people with LBP with and without radiculopathy. These recommendations emphasize the potential benefits of education, exercise, manual therapy, and cognitive/behavioral interventions.

Keywords: Education; Quality of life; Rehabilitation; Sciatica.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations*
  • Radiculopathy*
  • World Health Organization