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Scoping Review of Exercise with Complementary and Alternative Medicine Interventions for Chronic Low Back Pain

Rao, Neel (2022) Scoping Review of Exercise with Complementary and Alternative Medicine Interventions for Chronic Low Back Pain. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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INTRODUCTION: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a global public health issue that can significantly affects individuals and society. Previous research has identified treatment options that may be effective in treating CLBP, including modalities such as exercise and several complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). While these associations have been investigated separately, little is known about the combined effect of exercise and CAM specifically for CLBP. The purpose of this study is to review the research methods and results regarding treatment of CLBP via an exercise program and supplemental CAM.
METHODS: A scoping literature search was conducted using the Ovid-MEDLINE database on October 29, 2021. Studies that utilized a structured exercise program and CAM treatment were included in analysis.
RESULTS: Search provided 1095 items, of which 18 studies were reviewed. The most common factor in successful reduction of CLBP was an exercise program based on stabilizing and strengthening exercises, among others. The most common agent of CAM used were thermal agents, followed by mechanical, electromagnetic, and other agents. The most of most convincing associations with exercise in reducing CLBP were seen in photobiomodulation and ultrasound therapy, with capacitive-resistive electric transfer also showing promise. There was large variability in the participant group allocation, study duration, and intervention details across all studies.
CONCLUSION: This reviewed identified a possible association between exercise and CAM treatments that produce a thermal heating effect either superficially and/or in deeper tissues. Future research should randomize participants in both groups to an exercise-based program, and additional study groups should be exposed to only one CAM. These findings are of public health significance because they can help inform and optimize the treatment of CLBP both from a clinical and research perspective. Identifying the most efficient and acceptable methods to treat CLBP could help alleviate the biopsychosocial burden placed on individuals and their communities, as well as broaden options for physicians looking to refer more effective treatment options to patients.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rao, Neelnmr63@pitt.edunmr63
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis advisorRockette-Wagner, Bonnybjr26@pitt.edubjr26UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberToto, Pamelapet3@pitt.edupet3UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberKariuki, Jacobkigok@pitt.edukigokUNSPECIFIED
Date: 18 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 29 April 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 79
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chronic Low Back Pain, Exercise, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, CAM, Physical Activity, Interventions, Therapies
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 19:56
Last Modified: 18 May 2022 19:56


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