Comparative Clinical Effectiveness of Nonsurgical Treatment Methods in Patients With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Michael J. Schneider, Carlo Ammendolia, Donald R. Murphy, Ronald M. Glick, Elizabeth Hile, Dana L. Tudorascu, Sally C. Morton, Clair Smith, Charity G. Patterson, Sara R. Piva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is the most common reason for spine surgery in older US adults. There is an evidence gap about nonsurgical LSS treatment options. Objective: To explore the comparative clinical effectiveness of 3 nonsurgical interventions for patients with LSS. Design, Setting, and Participants: Three-arm randomized clinical trial of 3 years' duration (November 2013 to June 2016). Analysis began in August 2016. All interventions were delivered during 6 weeks with follow-up at 2 months and 6 months at an outpatient research clinic. Patients older than 60 years with LSS were recruited from the general public. Eligibility required anatomical evidence of central canal and/or lateral recess stenosis (magnetic resonance imaging/computed tomography) and clinical symptoms associated with LSS (neurogenic claudication; less symptoms with flexion). Analysis was intention to treat. Interventions: Medical care, group exercise, and manual therapy/individualized exercise. Medical care consisted of medications and/or epidural injections provided by a physiatrist. Group exercise classes were supervised by fitness instructors in senior community centers. Manual therapy/individualized exercise consisted of spinal mobilization, stretches, and strength training provided by chiropractors and physical therapists. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were between-group differences at 2 months in self-reported symptoms and physical function measured by the Swiss Spinal Stenosis questionnaire (score range, 12-55) and a measure of walking capacity using the self-paced walking test (meters walked for 0 to 30 minutes). Results: A total of 259 participants (mean [SD] age, 72.4 [7.8] years; 137 women [52.9%]) were allocated to medical care (88 [34.0%]), group exercise (84 [32.4%]), or manual therapy/individualized exercise (87 [33.6%]). Adjusted between-group analyses at 2 months showed manual therapy/individualized exercise had greater improvement of symptoms and physical function compared with medical care (-2.0; 95% CI, -3.6 to -0.4) or group exercise (-2.4; 95% CI, -4.1 to -0.8). Manual therapy/individualized exercise had a greater proportion of responders (≥30% improvement) in symptoms and physical function (20%) and walking capacity (65.3%) at 2 months compared with medical care (7.6% and 48.7%, respectively) or group exercise (3.0% and 46.2%, respectively). At 6 months, there were no between-group differences in mean outcome scores or responder rates. Conclusions and Relevance: A combination of manual therapy/individualized exercise provides greater short-term improvement in symptoms and physical function and walking capacity than medical care or group exercises, although all 3 interventions were associated with improvements in long-term walking capacity. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01943435.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e186828
JournalJAMA network open
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 4 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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