Abstract

Low back pain (LBP) is the leading cause of disability and one of the most common reasons for physician visits in primary care, with a 33% rate of recurrence during the first year. However, the most optimal exercise program in this context remains unknown. The objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of a group-based progressive strength training program in non-specific chronic LBP (CLBP) patients in primary care on pain recurrence and physical function. Eighty-five patients with non-specific CLBP were separated into two groups (Intervention group: completed a progressive strength training program 3 days per week for 8 weeks; Control group: received the usual care). The intervention group showed a recurrence rate of 8.3%, while the control group had a recurrence rate of 33.3% and a shorter time until the first recurrent episode. The intervention group showed increased lumbar extensor strength, left-hand handgrip strength, and reduced the number of pain sites compared with the control group. Results also showed greater odds for reducing LBP intensity and disability in the intervention group. In conclusion, a group-based progressive strength training program is a more effective and efficient alternative than Back-School programs and can easily be carried out in the primary health care context.

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