D. Groot, M. L. van Hooff, R. J. Kroeze, M. Monshouwer, J. O’Dowd, P. Horsting, M. Spruit

May 2019, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-05967-6

First Online: 08 May 2019


Treatment options for chronic low back pain (CLBP) include cognitive behavioral interventions. Most of these interventions only have small and short-lived effects. Using strict inclusion criteria for participation in an intensive combined physical and psychological program, encouraging effects were reported at 1-year follow-up. This study evaluates the long-term follow-up results of the same program. The hypothesis is that previously reported results are maintained.


Structured interviews were conducted in a prospective extended cohort with a minimum of 5-year follow-up in a similar fashion as in the 1-year follow-up report. The median follow-up in this cohort was 6.5 years. The extended cohort consisted of 277 patients (85% response).


Outcomes include daily functioning, quality of life, current pain intensity, pain disturbance in daily activities and indicators of the use of pain medication and healthcare services. The previously reported positive 1-year follow-up results were maintained at a minimum of 5-year follow-up. Disability as measured with the Oswestry disability index (ODIv2.1a) decreased from 40 to 27 in the first year. This positive result was maintained at the 6.5-year follow-up with an ODI of 28. Pain intensity (NRS 0–100) improved from 60 to 39 in the first year, and at 6.5 years, this had further improved to 33. Improvement in quality of life (SF 36) at 1-year follow-up was maintained at 6.5-year follow-up, and healthcare consumption had decreased substantially as measured with doctor visits and analgesics used for CLBP.


Selected and motivated patients with longstanding CLBP improve fast after an intensive combined physical and psychological program in daily functioning, pain and quality of life. Positive 1-year results are maintained, and healthcare utilization was still reduced at a minimum of 5-year follow-up.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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