A recent systematic review of Cognitive Functional Therapy (CFT), a relatively new treatment for chronic back pain, has shown that it is not more effective than traditional therapies based on evidence from previous studies. The review was led by Jack Devonshire, a PhD candidate with UNSW Sydney and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), who examined studies on CFT as a treatment for chronic back pain. CFT integrates various treatments to manage chronic back pain, such as pain education, exercise, and lifestyle coaching, into a model of care based on a contemporary understanding of pain. Despite being integrated into healthcare systems in the UK and Finland, as well as having multiple training courses online for clinicians, there hasn’t yet been a comprehensive analysis of research into this therapy. The review found that the effectiveness of CFT remains unknown at this stage, and the authors call for future trials featuring blinded participants and larger sample sizes to provide more reliable evidence. The researchers found that CFT may not reduce pain intensity and disability in people with chronic low back pain compared to manual therapy and core exercises. However, no adverse events were reported among patients after receiving the CFT treatment. The authors note that the certainty of their systematic review was limited by differences between study controls, small sample sizes, and a high risk of bias across all included studies, and they look forward to further research that improves the current evidence via clinical trials on CFT.
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