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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

The McKenzie method for the management of acute non-specific low back pain: design of a randomised controlled trial [ACTRN012605000032651]

Luciana AC Machado1*, Chris G Maher1, Rob D Herbert1, Helen Clare2 and James McAuley1

Author Affiliations

1 Back Pain Research Group, School of Physiotherapy, The University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW, 1825, Australia

2 Private Practice, 16 Ayres Road, St Ives, NSW, 2075, Australia

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2005, 6:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-50

Published: 13 October 2005

Abstract

Background

Low back pain (LBP) is a major health problem. Effective treatment of acute LBP is important because it prevents patients from developing chronic LBP, the stage of LBP that requires costly and more complex treatment.

Physiotherapists commonly use a system of diagnosis and exercise prescription called the McKenzie Method to manage patients with LBP. However, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of the McKenzie Method for these patients. We have designed a randomised controlled trial to evaluate whether the addition of the McKenzie Method to general practitioner care results in better outcomes than general practitioner care alone for patients with acute LBP.

Methods/design

This paper describes the protocol for a trial examining the effects of the McKenzie Method in the treatment of acute non-specific LBP. One hundred and forty eight participants who present to general medical practitioners with a new episode of acute non-specific LBP will be randomised to receive general practitioner care or general practitioner care plus a program of care based on the McKenzie Method. The primary outcomes are average pain during week 1, pain at week 1 and 3 and global perceived effect at week 3.

Discussion

This trial will provide the first rigorous test of the effectiveness of the McKenzie Method for acute non-specific LBP.