The assumption that eoucation will increase the functional levels of back pain patients is explored in this study. The relation of functional ability to educational retention after completion of a back program was evaluated in 23 patients over a six month period. Subjects were taken from a preexisting back program and completed a six hour course in anatomy, biomechanics and E}xercise theory for the back. Three questionnaires were used, including the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire to assess functional ability, an educational questionnaire and a medical disability questionnaire. Results indicated a trend over time of decreased educational retention in conjunction with decreased functional ability. These results were not statistically significant but do support the theory underlying back schools that education will lead to increased independence and functional ability. There is evidence of an initial Increase in educational comprehension, a follow-up at six months is recommended to maintain an adequate level of retention. Suggestions for further study and improvements of back schools are made.
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