Minimal Intervention of Patient Education for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

Luís A. Gomes, Ana M. Rodrigues, Daniëlle van der Windt, Diogo Pires, Vera Afreixo, Helena Canhão, Eduardo B. Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To explore the effects of minimal intervention of patient education (MIPE) for reducing disability and pain intensity in patients with low back pain (LBP). DESIGN: Intervention systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. LITERATURE SEARCH: We searched the MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases from inception to May 2023. STUDY SELECTION CRITERIA: Trials comparing MIPE, consisting of a single session of patient education, to no or other interventions in patients with LBP. DATA SYNTHESIS: Random effects meta-analysis was conducted where possible. A noninferiority margin of 5 points (0-100 scale) was considered for noninferiority hypotheses. We assessed risk of bias using the revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool (RoB 2), and certainty of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) framework. RESULTS: A total of 21 trials were included. There were no differences between MIPE and no intervention for effects on disability and pain intensity. There was low-certainty evidence that MIPE had inferior effects on short-term disability (mean difference = 3.62; 95% CI: 0.85, 6.38; 15 trials; n = 3066; I2 = 75%) and pain intensity (mean difference = 9.43; 95% CI: 1.31, 17.56; 10 trials; n = 1394; I2 = 90%) than other interventions. No differences were found for subsequent time points. CONCLUSION: As an intervention delivered in isolation, and without tailoring (ie, one-size-fits-all intervention), MIPE on average did not provide benefits for reducing disability and pain intensity over no or other interventions. We encourage clinicians to consider using additional/other or more tailored treatments when helping people manage LBP. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2024;54(2):1-13. Epub 16 November 2023. doi:10.2519/jospt.2023.11865.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • disability
  • low back pain
  • meta-analysis
  • pain intensity
  • patient education
  • systematic review


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