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Background: Authors of meta-analyses concluded that exercise therapy appears to be slightly effective at decreasing pain and improving function in adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP), particularly in health-care populations. Similar to health-care settings, community organizations provide wellness and lifestyle modification programs. Different versions of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Y’s Way to a Healthy Back program were offered from 1974 to 2004. Champions of the YMCA program and authors of the pilot study designed a Healthy Back Curriculum to update and reintroduce the program. Objective: The research aim of this randomized pilot trial was to investigate the feasibility of a follow-up larger randomized controlled trial on the program’s effectiveness for CLBP. The randomized pilot trial addressed subject recruitment, retention, and subject compliance with protocol. Methods: The pilot trial employed a 2-arm parallel group randomized design. Seventy eight subjects aged 18 to 64 years with low back pain on at least half the days over the previous 6 months were assigned to either (1) a group stretching exercise arm with 12 weekly classes or (2) a self-care book arm. Results: Sixty participants, 30 in each group, completed the study. Out of the 130 members who accepted invitation, 60% were eligible. Retention rate over the 24-week study in the group stretching exercise arm was 30 out of 43 participants (70%). Participants in the group stretching exercise program attended an average of 5 of the 12 classes (42%). Participants completed baseline and follow-up self-report items with no missing data. Conclusion: The pilot study did not prove to be feasible based on the prespecified benchmarks. We suggest that a larger trial should include changes gleaned from the pilot study.


This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 License.






Global Advances in Health and Medicine




SAGE Journals



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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