Blocking the lumbar or lumbosacral spine with a custom-made rigid lumbar brace, based on the mechanical origin of active discopathy, is a therapeutic option for low back pain, but no study has yet defined its applicability in low back pain.
To assess the pain evolution of individuals with non-specific chronic low back pain associated with Modic type 1 changes treated with custom-made rigid lumbar brace.
This was a retrospective observational study conducted in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation unit at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, France, between January 2014 and December 2016. Inclusion criteria were adults with non-specific chronic low back pain associated with Modic type 1 changes on the lumbar or lumbosacral spine confirmed by MRI. Patients had 4 consultations with the physician (baseline, 5 weeks, 3 months, and 5 months). The brace was progressively withdrawn at 3 months. The main outcome was pain improvement of at least 30% at 3 months (visual pain scale). The secondary outcome was an improvement of at least 50%. We also studied the association between pain improvement at the 2 thresholds (30 and 50%) and clinical data, level of Modic type 1 changes, and pain recurrence after withdrawal of the brace.
Among the 174 patients who wore the brace, 62 were included in the study; 49/62 (79%) showed improvement of at least 30% at 3 months. Two months after brace withdrawal, pain recurred for 30/46 patients (16 missing data). No sociodemographic, clinical or radiographic criteria were associated with pain evolution.
In the present study, a rigid lumbar brace worn for 3 months was associated with a 30% reduction in pain for 79% of patients with chronic low back pain and active discopathy. However, the retrospective open and uncontrolled design of our study limits our interpretation about a specific treatment effect. A prospective randomized controlled trial is needed to clarify the effect of a rigid lumbar brace in this condition.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Active discopathy, Modic type 1 changes, Rigid lumbar brace, Non-specific chronic low back pain