Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) is a very common health problem that has a great negative impact on the quality of life and the psychological well-being of backache patients. Literature findings have shown that a conventional physiotherapeutic approach is a beneficial choice for CLBP management. The aim of this study was to examine the short-term effects of a conservative physical treatment on depression, anxiety, somatic symptom disorders (SSD), quality of life, pain and disability in Greek individuals suffering from CLBP. Seventy-five CLBP patients were recruited using random systematic sampling. All subjects received ultrasound, low-level laser, massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (ΤENS) and alongside an exercise program (sum of 10 sessions, 5 times per week). The intervention was assessed by comparing pre and post outcome measurements based on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Somatic Symptom Scale-8 (SSS-8), EuroQol 5-dimension 5-level (EQ-5D-5L), Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) and Pain Numerical Rating Scale (PNRS) instruments. The mean age of the sample was 60.8 years (±14.4) and nearly one out of four (25.3%) was obese. After the end of the treatment, there were improvements in EQ-5D-5L indices and decreases in HADS, SSS-8, RMDQ and PNRS scores, which were found to be statistically significant. Greater effect size was found in PNRS (d=0.75), followed by EQ-5D-5L index value scale (d=0.42), SSS-8 (d=0.38), EQ-5D-5L VAS (d=0.36), RMDQ (d=0.29), HADS-A (d=0.16) and HADS-D (d=0.14). Men and women had similar changes in all under-study scales after the treatment, while besides pain scale, the pre-intervention scores as well as the degree of change in all scores were similar across all Body Mass Index (BMI) levels. In conclusion, convectional physical treatment was found to be an effective option in improving considerably the psychological status and quality of life, while also decreasing functional disability and pain in CLBP patients in the short run.
Keywords: Chronic low back pain; anxiety; depression; disability; exercise; pain; physical modalities; quality of life; somatic symptom disorders.