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Back pain can be treated by talking about it, says study

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A bad back could be eased through talking therapies, a study has revealed.

Research with hundreds of sufferers found that after a short group therapy course, patients with lower back pain continued to show improvements a year later, the Lancet reports.

The six one-and-a-half-hour sessions allowed participants to discuss beliefs about doing physical activity, countering negative thoughts, and relaxation.

More than 700 patients took part in the trial, all of whom received general advice about remaining active, avoiding bed rest and taking pain medication.

A total of 468 participants went on to take part in the sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Afterwards, those who underwent the therapy were more positive about being able to deal with their pain and less fearful about their situation.

Therapy is also seen as better value for money, with six sessions costing £187.

Study leader, Professor Sarah Lamb, at the University of Warwick, said: “Compared with advice alone, advice plus cognitive behavioural intervention was associated with significant benefits in nearly all outcomes.

“This trial shows that a bespoke cognitive behavioural intervention package is effective in managing subacute and chronic low-back pain in primary care.”

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