Research Repository

Understanding how individualised physiotherapy or advice altered different elements of disability for people with low back pain using network analysis.

Liew, Bernard XW and Ford, Jon J and Briganti, Giovanni and Hahne, Andrew J (2022) 'Understanding how individualised physiotherapy or advice altered different elements of disability for people with low back pain using network analysis.' PLoS One, 17 (2). e0263574-e0263574. ISSN 1932-6203

journal.pone.0263574.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Purpose The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is a common aggregate measure of disability for people with Low Back Pain (LBP). Scores on individual items and the relationship between items of the ODI may help understand the complexity of low back disorders and their response to treatment. In this study, we present a network analysis to explore how individualised physiotherapy or advice might influence individual items of the ODI, and the relationship between those items, at different time points for people with LBP. Methods Data from a randomised controlled trial (n = 300) comparing individualised physiotherapy versus advice for low back pain were used. A network analysis was performed at baseline, 5, 10, 26 and 52 weeks, with the 10 items of the Oswestry Disability Index modelled as continuous variables and treatment group (Individualised Physiotherapy or Advice) modelled as a dichotomous variable. A Mixed Graphical Model was used to estimate associations between variables in the network, while centrality indices (Strength, Closeness and Betweenness) were calculated to determine the importance of each variable. Results Individualised Physiotherapy was directly related to lower Sleep and Pain scores at all follow-up time points relative to advice, as well as a lower Standing score at 10-weeks, and higher Lifting and Travelling scores at 5-weeks. The strongest associations in the network were between Sitting and Travelling at weeks 5 and 26, between Walking and Standing at week 10, and between Sitting and Standing scores at week 52. ODI items with the highest centrality measures were consistently found to be Pain, Work and Social Life. Conclusion This study represents the first to understand how individualised physiotherapy or advice differentially altered disability in people with LBP. Individualised Physiotherapy directly reduced Pain and Sleep more effectively than advice, which in turn may have facilitated improvements in other disability items. Through their high centrality measures, Pain may be considered as a candidate therapeutic target for optimising LBP management, while Work and Socialising may need to be addressed via intermediary improvements in lifting, standing, walking, travelling or sleep. Slower (5-week follow-up) improvements in Lifting and Travelling as an intended element of the Individualised Physiotherapy approach did not negatively impact any longer-term outcomes. Trials registration ACTRN12609000834257.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Low Back Pain; Disabled Persons; Health Promotion; Female; Male; Physical Therapy Modalities; Social Network Analysis
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 14:59
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2022 01:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item