The Long-term Effects of a Self-management Program for Inner-city Primary Care Patients with Acute Low Back Pain

Teresa M. Damush, Morris Weinberger, Susan M. Perkins, Jaya K. Rao, William M. Tierney, Rong Qi, Daniel O. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


Background: We evaluated the effect of a self-management program for low-income primary care patients with acute low back pain (ALBP) from inner-city neighborhood health centers. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial of a self-management program compared with usual care at university-affiliated neighborhood health centers and an emergency department of an inner-city public teaching hospital. We enrolled 211 patients who visited a physician for ALBP (<90 days' duration). The self-management program consisted of 3 group sessions and telephone follow-up that focused on understanding back pain, increasing physical activity, and dealing with fears and frustrations. Results: At baseline, 4 months, and 12 months, blinded interviewers assessed back pain physical function (Roland Disability Questionnaire), health status (Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales), self-efficacy, and time spent in physical activity. Compared with patients receiving usual care, intervention patients reported significantly better scores on the Roland Disability Questionnaire (P = .009), mental functioning (P = .009), self-efficacy to manage ALBP (P = .03), time spent in physical activity (P = .047), and reduced fears of movement/reinjury (P = .005) after 12 months. Conclusion: A self-management program can improve and maintain functional status, mental functioning, and self-efficacy to manage future symptoms for 1 year among primary care patients with ALBP living in the urban, inner city.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2632-2638
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 24 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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