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Which Chronic Low Back Pain Patients Respond Favorably to Yoga, Physical Therapy, and a Self-care Book? Responder Analyses from a Randomized Controlled Trial.

Roseen EJ, Gerlovin H, Felson DT, Delitto A, Sherman KJ, Saper RB. Which Chronic Low Back Pain Patients Respond Favorably to Yoga, Physical Therapy, and a Self-care Book? Responder Analyses from a Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2021 Feb 4; 22(1):165-180.

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PURPOSE: To identify baseline characteristics of adults with chronic low back pain (cLBP) that predict response (i.e., a clinically important improvement) and/or modify treatment effect across three nonpharmacologic interventions. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Academic safety net hospital and seven federally qualified community health centers. SUBJECTS: Adults with cLBP (N? = 299). METHODS: We report patient characteristics that were predictors of response and/or modified treatment effect across three 12-week treatments: yoga, physical therapy [PT], and a self-care book. Using preselected characteristics, we used logistic regression to identify predictors of "response," defined as a = 30% improvement in the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Then, using "response" as our outcome, we identified baseline characteristics that were treatment effect modifiers by testing for statistical interaction (P? < 0.05) across two comparisons: 1) yoga-or-PT vs self-care and 2) yoga vs PT. RESULTS: Overall, 39% (116/299) of participants were responders, with more responders in the yoga-or-PT group (42%) than the self-care (23%) group. There was no difference in proportion responding to yoga (48%) vs PT (37%, odds ratio [OR]? = 1.5, 95% confidence interval = 0.88?-?2.6). Predictors of response included having more than a high school education, a higher income, employment, few depressive symptoms, lower perceived stress, few work-related fear avoidance beliefs, high pain self-efficacy, and being a nonsmoker. Effect modifiers included use of pain medication and fear avoidance beliefs related to physical activity (both P? = 0.02 for interaction). When comparing yoga or PT with self-care, a greater proportion were responders among those using pain meds (OR? = 5.3), which differed from those not taking pain meds (OR = 0.94) at baseline. We also found greater treatment response among those with lower (OR? = 7.0), but not high (OR? = 1.3), fear avoidance beliefs around physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings revealed important subgroups for whom referral to yoga or PT may improve cLBP outcomes.

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