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Study Comparing 3 Different Treatments for Arthritis of the Lower Back (Lumbar Spinal Stenosis)

Information source: University of Pittsburgh
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Intervention: NSAIDs; adjunctive analgesics; adjunctive anti-depressants (Drug); Lumbar epidural injection (Procedure); Joint Mobilizations (spine, sacroiliac, hip) (Other); Individualized exercises: clinical setting (Other); Group Exercise: community setting (Other)

Phase: N/A

Status: Recruiting

Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Michael J Schneider, PhD, DC, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh

Overall contact:
Christine McFarland, BS, Phone: 412-623-6872, Email: mcfarlandce@upmc.edu


BACKGROUND: Lumbar spinal stenosis - known by patients as "arthritis of the spine" - is a

condition that is very common; found in about 30% of older adults. It is the most common reason for people over the age of 65 to have back surgery. Some patients with stenosis do not need back surgery and can be treated with other methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, exercise, and medication. But we just don't have enough good research to tell us which treatment works best for which patient and under which circumstances. This research study hopes to provide more information about the effectiveness of the various non-surgical choices for managing stenosis. OBJECTIVES: This study will directly compare the effectiveness of three common non-surgical treatment approaches for stenosis: 1. Usual medical care that involves prescription medications and/or spinal injections (epidurals) 2. Group exercise in supervised classes given in a community center setting 3. Hands-on (manual) therapy and rehabilitative exercises given in a clinic setting by physical therapists and chiropractors METHODS: This research study will involve 180 adults who are at least 60 years old and have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. The research volunteers will be divided into three groups, each group receiving one of the 3 types of treatments listed above under "Objectives". The determination of which type of treatment each person receives will be determined by chance, using a computerized version of flipping a coin. This is a process known as randomization, which scientists think reduces the bias in research studies. A series of tests and questionnaires will be given to the patients before and after they get treatment and comparisons will be made to see how much improvement they made with each of the types of treatments. Finally, the researchers will compare the differences between the 3 treatment groups to see if certain types of treatment produced better results than others, and if there were any examination findings that could be used to predict which type of patient would do better with which type of treatment.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Comparison of Non-Surgical Treatment Methods for Patients With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Swiss Spinal Stenosis Questionnaire Score

Secondary outcome: Self Paced Walking Test

Detailed description: BACKGROUND: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a condition that is highly prevalent in the senior citizen population. LSS is the most frequent indication for spinal surgery in patients over the age of 65 years. The fastest growth in lumbar surgery in the U. S. this past decade has occurred in older adults with LSS and the rate of complex fusion procedures has increased 15-fold. These surgical procedures are associated with significant health care costs, risks, complications, and re-hospitalization rates. Yet, evidence is lacking for the effectiveness of the various non-surgical treatments offered to patients with LSS. This knowledge gap has greatly hindered the development of clinical practice guidelines relevant to the non-surgical treatment approaches for LSS. OBJECTIVES: This study will perform a comparison of three common approaches to the non-surgical management and treatment of patients with LSS. The specific research questions associated with this study are: (1) How do group exercise and manual therapy with rehabilitative exercise compare with usual medical care? (2) How do group exercise and manual therapy with rehabilitative exercise compare with each other? (3) Are there any baseline predictors associated with clinical improvement in any of these non-surgical treatment approaches? The long term objective of this study is to produce research evidence relevant to community stakeholders and to inform better decision making about non-surgical treatment options available to LSS patients. METHODS: This will be a comparative effectiveness study utilizing the research design of a randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT). It will be a 3-group RCT that allows for pragmatic treatment approaches in each of the three study arms. The study sample will consist of 180 older adults (>60 years) who have symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of LSS, which will be confirmed by clinical examination and diagnostic imaging. Eligible subjects will be randomized into one of three pragmatic treatment approaches: 1) usual medical care; 2) group exercise; or 3) manual therapy with rehabilitative exercise. All subjects will be treated for a 6-week course of care. Primary outcome measures are two validated research measurement tools; the Swiss Spinal Stenosis Questionnaire (self-reported pain/function) and the Self Paced Walking Test (performance-based measure). We will also employ a novel secondary outcome measure; the Sense Wear Armband which provides a real-time measure of physical activity during normal daily living.


Minimum age: 60 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Minimum age of 60 years

- Can read/write English and understand directions

- Diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis confirmed by CT or MRI scan

- Has limitation of standing and/or walking tolerance

- Willing to attend treatments 2 times per week for 6 weeks

- Ability to walk at least 50 feet with the need for a cane or walker

Exclusion Criteria:

- History of metastatic cancer

- Advised by a physician not to exercise

- History of lumbar surgery for spinal stenosis or previous lumbar fusion

- Presence of severe peripheral artery disease in legs

- Severe hypertension: Systolic > 200 mm/hg or Diastolic > 110 mm/hg

- Ankle brachial index < 0. 8

- Neurologic or neurodegenerative disease other than stenosis that severly impairs the

ability to walk

- Presence of cauda equina symptoms (saddle paresthesia, progressive loss of

bladder/bowel function, etc)

Locations and Contacts

Christine McFarland, BS, Phone: 412-623-6872, Email: mcfarlandce@upmc.edu

UPMC Shadyside Center for Integrative Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232, United States; Recruiting
Christine McFarland, BS, Phone: 412-623-6872, Email: mcfarlandce@upmc.edu
Michael J Schneider, PhD, DC, Principal Investigator
Additional Information

Starting date: October 2013
Last updated: December 1, 2014

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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