Addition of MoodGYM to physical treatments for chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial

M. John Petrozzi*, Andrew Leaver, Paulo H. Ferreira, Sidney M. Rubinstein, Mairwen K. Jones, Martin G. Mackey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is prevalent, costly and disabling. A biopsychosocial treatment approach involving physical and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is recommended for those with chronic LBP. It is not known if online psychological coaching tools might have a role in the secondary prevention of LBP related disability. To assess the effectiveness of an internet-delivered psychological program (MoodGYM) in addition to standard physical treatment in patients with chronic non-specific LBP at medium risk of ongoing disability. Methods: A multisite randomized controlled trial was conducted with 108 participants (aged mean 50.4 ± 13.6 years) with chronic LBP attending one of six private physiotherapy or chiropractic clinics. Disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire) and self-efficacy (Patient Self-Efficacy Questionnaire), were assessed at baseline, post-treatment (8-weeks) with follow-up at six- and twelve-months. Participants were randomized into either the intervention group, MoodGYM plus physical treatments, or the control group which received physical treatments alone. Results: No statistically significant between group differences were observed for either disability at post-treatment (Effect size (standardised mean difference) 95% CI) RMD - 0.06 (- 0.45,0.31), 6-months RMD 0.01 (- 0.38,0.39) and 12-months - 0.20 (- 0.62,0.17) or self-efficacy at post-treatment PSEQ 0.06 (- 0.31,0.45), 6-months 0.02 (- 0.36,0.41) and 12-months 0.21 (- 0.16,0.63). Conclusion: There was no additional benefit of an internet-delivered CBT program (MoodGYM) to physical treatments in those with chronic non-specific LBP at medium risk of ongoing disability measured at post-treatment, or at 6 and 12 months. Trial registration: This trial was prospectively registered with Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number (ACTRN) 12615000269538.

Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChiropractic and Manual Therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019


  • Chiropractic
  • Chronic non-specific LBP
  • Disability
  • MoodGYM
  • Secondary psychosocial prevention
  • Self-efficacy


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