Long-term outcomes of anthroposophic therapy for chronic low back pain: A two-year follow-up analysis
Harald J Hamre1, Claudia M Witt2, Gunver S Kienle1, Anja Glockmann1, Renatus Ziegler3, Stefan N Willich2, Helmut Kiene1
1Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Freiburg, Germany; 2Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany; 3Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim, Switzerland
Background: Anthroposophic treatment for chronic low back pain (LBP) includes special artistic and physical therapies and special medications. In a previously published prospective cohort study, anthroposophic treatment for chronic LBP was associated with improvements of pain, back function, and quality of life at 12-month follow-up. These improvements were at least comparable to improvements in a control group receiving conventional care. We conducted a two-year follow-up analysis of the anthroposophic therapy group with a larger sample size.
Methods: Seventy-five consecutive adult outpatients in Germany, starting anthroposophic treatment for discogenic or non-specific LBP of ≥6 weeks’ duration participated in a prospective cohort study. Main outcomes were Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire (HFAQ; 0–100), LBP Rating Scale Pain Score (LBPRS; 0–100), Symptom Score (0–10), and SF-36 after 24 months.
Results: Eighty-five percent of patients were women. Mean age was 49.0 years. From baseline to 24-month follow-up all outcomes improved significantly; average improvements were: HFAQ 11.1 points (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.5–16.6; p < 0.001), LBPRS 8.7 (95% CI: 4.4–13.0; p < 0.001), Symptom Score 2.0 (95% CI: 1.3–2.8; p < 0.001), SF-36 Physical Component Summary 6.0 (95% CI: 2.9–9.1; p < 0.001), and SF-36 Mental Component Summary 4.0 (95% CI: 1.1–6.8; p = 0.007).
Conclusion: Patients with chronic LBP receiving anthroposophic treatment had sustained improvements of symptoms, back function, and quality of life, suggesting that larger multicenter rigorous studies may be worthwhile.
Keywords: anthroposophy, drug therapy, eurythmy therapy, low back pain, follow-up studies
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