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Good back pain science news 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Statistically and clinically significant test results for a back pain treatment? Pinch me!

Kjartan Vibe Fersum et al. tested cognitive functional therapy (CFT) with great results, published in the European Journal of Pain this summer. This is probably the best test yet of what I call “the confidence cure.” The big idea is that back pain does not necessarily have anything to do with a damaged or degenerated back, and the cycle of pain and disability can be broken by easing patient fears and anxieties. In this test, CFT worked! Patients got statistically and clinically meaningful results — which is really kind of a big deal — better than manual therapy and exercise. As the authors put it for, “Disabling back pain can change for the better with a different narrative and coping strategies.”

I’ve already cited and discussed this study in a few places around, especially my low back pain book. See my bibliography for a more detailed description, or read more about it at

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