Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute
paper3_Long-term

Long-term course of alternative and integrative therapy for lumbar disc herniation and risk factors for surgery: A prospective observational 5-year follow-up study

paper3_long-term

STUDY DESIGN:
Prospective observational 5-year study.
OBJECTIVE:
To assess pain, functional disability, surgical status, and health care use of patients who actively selected complementary and alternative medicine treatment and risk factors for lumbar surgery.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:
Controversy continues regarding difference in long-term outcomes of conservative and surgical treatment.
METHODS:
We recruited 150 consecutive lumbar disc herniation patients with radiating pain (numeric rating scale ≥5) from November, 2006 at a Korean medicine hospital outpatient department, of which 128 patients completed 6 months of complementary and alternative medicine treatment (herbal medicine, acupuncture, bee-venom pharmacopuncture, and Chuna manipulation). Follow-up data was collected every year for 5 years.
RESULTS:
We assessed surgical status in 105 patients (82%), of which 8 replied that they had received surgery. Ninety-two patients (72%) attended the 5-year follow-up. Visual analog scale of back pain which was 4.19 ± 2.60 at baseline improved after treatment, decreasing to 0.94 ± 1.13 at 6 months, and was maintained at 1.25 ± 1.81 at 5 years. Visual analog scale of leg pain decreased from 7.50 ± 1.32 to 0.94 ± 1.29 and was sustained at 0.98 ± 1.73. Participants reported less disability with Oswestry Disability Index scores decreasing from 41.50 ± 15.07 at baseline to 11.24 ± 10.44 at 6 months, which then declined further to 7.61 ± 9.82 at 5 years. SF-36 quality-of-life health survey scores also improved, increasing from 33.41 ± 12.67 at baseline to 66.04 ± 15.77 at 6 months, and reaching 75.43 ± 15.79 at 5 years. In assessment of satisfaction with current state, 20% replied “highly satisfied,” 67% “satisfied,” 10% “fairly satisfied,” and 2% “dissatisfied.” Patients with younger age, previous treatment for current pain episode, and higher levels of sensory impairment and pain in the lower extremities were at higher risk of lumbar surgery.
CONCLUSION:
The long-term results of lumbar disc herniation patients receiving nonsurgical complementary and alternative medicine treatment were favorable and satisfaction rates were high.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
2.