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Does early intervention improve outcomes in the physiotherapy management of lumbar radicular syndrome? Results of the POLAR pilot randomised controlled trial

Reddington, Michael; Walters, Stephen J.; Cohen, Judith; Baxter, Susan K.; Cole, Ashley

Authors

Michael Reddington

Stephen J. Walters

Judith Cohen

Susan K. Baxter

Ashley Cole



Abstract

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. Objective To investigate the feasibility of undertaking a definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT). Setting This was a pilot, pragmatic superiority RCT with a qualitative element, recruiting from 14 general practitioner (GP) practices in England. Participants Patients over 18 years of age presenting to their GP with unilateral lumbar radicular syndrome (LRS), defined as radicular pain and/or neurological symptoms originating from lumbar nerve roots, were eligible to participate in the study, those who did not have a clear understanding of the English language or had comorbidities preventing rehabilitation were ineligible. Interventions Participants were randomised into early intervention physiotherapy or usual care with the former receiving their treatment within 2 weeks after randomisation and the latter 6 weeks postrandomisation. Both groups received a patient-centred, goal-orientated physiotherapy programme specific to their needs. Participants received up to six treatment sessions over an 8-week period. Outcome measures Process outcomes to determine the feasibility of the study and an exploratory analysis of patient-reported outcomes, including self-rated disability, pain and general health, these were collected at baseline, 6, 12 and 26 weeks postrandomisation. Results 80 participants were recruited in 10 GP practices over 34 weeks and randomised to (early intervention physiotherapy n=42, usual care n=38). Follow-up rates at 26 weeks were 32 (84%) in the usual care and 36 (86%) in the early intervention physiotherapy group. The mean area under the curve (larger values indicating more disability) for the Oswestry Disability Index over the 26 weeks was 16.6 (SD 11.4) in the usual care group and 16.0 (SD 14.0) in the intervention group. A difference of '0.6 (95% CI '0.68 to 5.6) in favour of the intervention group. Conclusions The results of the study suggest a full RCT is feasible and will provide evidence as to the optimal timing of physiotherapy for patients with LRS. Trial registration number NCT02618278, ISRCTN25018352.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2018-07
Journal BMJ Open
Print ISSN 2044-6055
Electronic ISSN 2044-6055
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 7
Article Number e021631
APA6 Citation Reddington, M., Walters, S. J., Cohen, J., Baxter, S. K., & Cole, A. (2018). Does early intervention improve outcomes in the physiotherapy management of lumbar radicular syndrome? Results of the POLAR pilot randomised controlled trial. BMJ open, 8(7), doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021631
DOI https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021631
Keywords General Medicine
Publisher URL http://bmjopen.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmjopen-2018-021631?ijkey=tgR6bgBRJWtxzCv&keytype=ref
Copyright Statement © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Copyright Statement
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.





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