BACKGROUND:
To date, a 10-year follow-up study on complementary and alternative medical treatment of lumbar intervertebral disc herniation (LDH) has never been conducted. Therefore, we aimed to perform a prospective 10-year follow-up study on the integrated treatment of LDH in Korea.

METHODS:
One hundred and fifty patients from the baseline study, who initially met the LDH diagnostic criteria with a chief complaint of radiating pain and received integrated treatment, were recruited for this follow-up study. The 10-year follow-up was conducted from February 2018 to March 2018 on pain, disability, satisfaction, quality of life, and changes in herniated disc, muscles, and fat through magnetic resonance imaging.

RESULTS:
Sixty-five patients were included in this follow-up study. Visual analogue scale score for lower back pain and radiating leg pain were maintained at a significantly lower level than the baseline level. Significant improvements in Oswestry disability index and quality of life were consistently present. MRI confirmed that disc herniation size was reduced over the 10-year follow-up. In total, 95.38% of the patients were either "satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" with the treatment outcomes and 89.23% of the patients claimed their condition "improved" or "highly improved" at the 10-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:
The reduced pain and improved disability was maintained over 10 years in patients with LDH who were treated with nonsurgical Korean medical treatment 10 years ago. Nonsurgical traditional Korean medical treatment for LDH produced beneficial long-term effects, but future large-scale randomized controlled trials for LDH are needed.

STUDY REGISTRATION:
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03426215.





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