Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Naturopathy wins over physical therapy advice?

Chronic lower back pain is perhaps the most commonly reported workplace disability. Szczurko et al. conducted a randomized clinical trial of 75 postal service employees experiencing more than six weeks of chronic back pain, dividing them to receive Naturopathic care (n = 39) or standardized physiotherapy (n = 36) over a period of 12 weeks. The study was conducted in clinics on-site in postal outlets. Participants in the Naturopathic care group received dietary counseling, deep breathing relaxation techniques and acupuncture. The control intervention received education and instruction on physiotherapy exercises using an approved education booklet. The authors suggest that naturopathic care provided statistically significant greater improvement than physiotherapy advice.

The naturopathic route involved hands-on intervention (acupuncture), and there is this curious point suggesting some rather significant motivational differences:
Data was available on 100% (39) of the naturopathic care group at week 8 and 75% (27) of the control group at week 8. Complete data on participants at week 12 was available on 92% and 63% respectfully.


  1. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Surely "approved education booklets" are not the only way physiotherapists work. In case of chronic pain (that is, pain linked with some central nervous system disfunction rather than a musculoskeletal system one),it would be interesting to compare these results with that of a group receiving neurocogntive rehabilitation, or something like that.

    I'm sorry for my english
    I love your blog

  2. I agree. I debated posting this, because it lacks several controls and employs a small number of subjects. Still, it does utilize two commonly employed theraputic options. I think its conclusion are probably correct.

  3. Studies like this are basically useless.
    Acupuncture is the biggest placebo out there; having one group receive hands-on treatment of any kind is enough to produce this kind of result.
    Had they used sham ultrasound on the other group there wouldn't have been any difference in outcomes I bet.
    As a physiotherapist myself I can't stress enough that every pain comes from the brain!
    As long as that isn't taken into account most treatments employed by my fellow therapists will and can not be very effective.
    We have to work with the software and not with the hardware of the patient in pain.

  4. If behavioral compliance with the naturopathy involves just taking a pill but for physiotherapy it involves changing generally unconscious matters of posture and locomotion, then I doubt this result makes sense. On top of that, there's bound to be issues of intellectual/psychological compliance relating to world view.

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  6. I also believe in naturopathy treatment as it is free from chemicals and also have very nice effect. I was suffering from skin disease, so i decided to get admitted in naturopathy center in Pune, India for naturopathy treatment for my skin. I was admitted their for 1 month they provide all foood, very nice rooms and very nice staff. Now skin problem is very much cured and i am feeling much better after this treatment.