Representing one of the most common sources of chronic discomfort among people worldwide, lower back pain is a significant health issue for scores of people, and is also a leading reason for missed workdays and worker’s compensation claims. Many lower back pain problems are addressed by various treatments including pain medications, spinal adjustments, and other measures, but clients taking advantage of such treatments may find that the dependency upon these options can lead to frustration as well as extra expenses. Psychotherapy has been shown to provide promising benefits for a multitude of physical health concerns, and study recently conducted at the University of Warwick in the UK has found that therapy may be more effective for lower back pain than simply administering medical advice to clients.
The study involved a group of over six hundred participants, over half of which were assigned to a course of six sessions of group psychotherapy, while the remaining participants were given a basic fifteen minute consultation regarding other treatment options, including the use of pain relieving medications. Results were collected a year after the opening of the study, and found that nearly sixty percent of those who received psychotherapeutic treatment reported improvement in their back pain symptoms, compared with only thirty one percent of participants who received a consultation alone. Satisfaction with the treatment was also markedly different, with sixty five percent in the therapy group expressive their satisfaction, in contrast with twenty eight percent satisfaction among the other participants.
The study helps to bolster the idea that certain types of therapy can improve quality of life and ease discomfort among people with problematic pain management and related medical issues. Though further research incorporating measures obtained through methods other than self-reporting may make the findings stronger, the study provides a solid foundation for future work.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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