For a study, researchers sought to calculate the impact of a graded sensorimotor retraining intervention (RESOLVE) on chronic low back pain patients’ level of pain.

Participants with chronic (>3 months), nonspecific low back pain were included in the parallel, 2-group, randomized clinical study from the community and primary care settings. At a medical study facility, 276 adults were randomly assigned (in a 1:1 ratio) to the intervention or sham procedure and attention control groups. Randomization began for the first participant on December 10, 2015, and ended on July 25, 2019. The observation was finished on February 3, 2020. The 138 randomly assigned to the intervention group were required to attend 12 weekly clinical sessions and at-home training intended to inform and support them with mobility and physical exercise while dealing with lower back pain. The 12 weekly clinical sessions and home training that took a similar amount of time to the intervention but did not emphasize education, mobility, or physical exercise were needed of the 138 participants who were randomly assigned to the control group. The control group received sham noninvasive brain stimulation, sham laser, and shortwave diathermy administered to the back. The main outcome was the level of pain at 18 weeks, which was assessed using an 11-point numerical rating scale (range: 0 [no pain] to 10 [worst pain imaginable]), with a 1.0-point difference between groups being considered clinically significant.

In the study, 261 (95%) of the 276 randomly selected patients (mean [SD] age, 46 [14.3] years; 138 [50%] women) finished follow-up at 18 weeks. With an estimated between-group mean difference at 18 weeks of -1.0 points ([95% CI, -1.5 to -0.4]; P=.001], favoring the intervention group, the mean pain intensity was 5.6 at baseline and 3.1 at 18 weeks in the intervention group compared to 5.8 at baseline and 4.0 at 18 weeks in the control group.

In this single-center, randomized clinical research, graded sensorimotor retraining significantly reduced pain intensity at 18 weeks compared to sham treatment and attention control in patients with persistent low back pain. However, the reductions in pain intensity were modest, and more study is required to determine whether the results are generally applicable.