Last month we summarised the systematic review by Hee et al. The review concluded that passive physical treatments for low back pain were most likely to help people who were younger with higher levels of disability and low levels of psychological distress. Psychological treatments were more likely to help those with severe disability. Active physical treatments appeared to help all subgroups equally. However, the size of the additional benefit achieved in the subgroups was small and unlikely to be clinically important. These findings do not support the use of subgrouping for people with low back pain.
Some suggestions for selecting treatments for people with low back pain are included in this infographic.
Hee SW, et al. Identification of subgroup effect with an individual participant data meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of three different types of therapist-delivered care in low back pain. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2021;22(191):Epub.