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Patient education for helping low back pain remains backed by guidelines

Press release December 12, 2018 Health Education Australia

A new NPS MedicineWise article explains that although a recent study found ‘intensive’ education on low back pain does not improve outcomes, basic education remains a cornerstone for management of low back pain and is recommended in Australian and international guidelines.

NPS MedicineWise

Education is recommended for all people who experience low back pain as part of usual care, together with reassurance, advice to stay active and self-management. 

A new Australian study (JAMA Neurology, Nov 5 2018) assessed the effectiveness of ‘intensive education’ (of at least 2 hours) as a treatment in addition to usual care for people with low back pain compared to placebo education. The study with more than 200 people receiving usual care found that people receiving additional intensive education did not experience a reduction in pain intensity greater than those receiving additional ‘sham education’ as placebo.

Some media reporting on this study conflated the lack of effectiveness of ‘intensive education’ into one message that all education for low back pain is ineffective.

As part of the current NPS MedicineWise low back pain education program for health care professionals and consumers, the organisation is reminding health care professionals of the role of education, along with reassurance and advice to stay active, for the optimal care of people with low back pain.

To read the new article to go to

To find out more about the NPS MedicineWise program on low back pain go to


Media enquiries: Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Media & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]

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We receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.


Health Education Australia