Low back injuries are a common occurrence in athletes and often result in missed competition and practice time. The examination of athletes with low back pain commonly involves diagnostic imaging, which rarely guides the clinician in selecting the appropriate interventions.
All years of PubMed, CINAHL, PEDro, and SPORTDiscus were searched in December 2010. Keywords included treatment based classification and lumbar with the following terms: rehabilitation, treatment, athlete, low back pain, sports, and outcomes.
A treatment-based classification approach is preferred for the management of the athlete with low back pain. The treatment-based classification approach involves 3 steps. First is to screen the patient for potentially serious conditions that are not appropriate for conservative management. Second is staging the athlete (based on current disability ratings and ability to perform functional activities). Finally, treatment interventions are selected on the basis of the athlete’s signs and symptoms.
The treatment-based classification scheme provides the clinician with a reliable algorithm for matching an athlete’s symptom presentation to the optimal intervention, potentially reducing participation loss. Managing individuals with low back pain using a treatment-based classification approach significantly reduces disability and pain compared with current clinical practice guideline standards.
treatment-based classification; lumbar; low back pain; sports
Up to now, chronic low back pain without radicular symptoms is not classified and attributed in international literature as being "unspecific". For specific bracing of this patient group we use simple physical tests to predict the brace type the patient is most likely to benefit from. Based on these physical tests we have developed a simple functional classification of "unspecific" low back pain in patients with spinal deformities.
Between January 2006 and July 2007 we have tested 130 patients (116 females and 14 males) with spinal deformities (average age 45 years, ranging from 14 years to 69) and chronic unspecific low back pain (pain for > 24 months) along with the indication for brace treatment for chronic unspecific low back pain. Some of the patients had symptoms of spinal claudication (n = 16). The "sagittal realignment test" (SRT) was applied, a lumbar hyperextension test, and the "sagittal delordosation test" (SDT). Additionally 3 female patients with spondylolisthesis were tested, including one female with symptoms of spinal claudication and 2 of these patients were 14 years of age and the other 43yrs old at the time of testing.
117 Patients reported significant pain release in the SRT and 13 in the SDT (>/= 2 steps in the Roland & Morris VRS). 3 Patients had no significant pain release in both of the tests (< 2 steps in the Roland & Morris VRS).
Pain intensity was high (3,29) before performing the physical tests (VRS-scale 0–5) and low (1,37) while performing the physical test for the whole sample of patients. The differences where highly significant in the Wilcoxon test (z = -3,79; p < 0,0001).
In the 16 patients who did not respond to the SRT in the manual investigation we found hypermobility at L5/S1 or a spondylolisthesis at level L5/S1. In the other patients who responded well to the SRT loss of lumbar lordosis was the main issue, a finding which, according to scientific literature, correlates well with low back pain. The 3 patients who did not respond to either test had a fair pain reduction in a generally delordosing brace with an isolated small foam pad inserted at the level of L 2/3, leading to a lordosation at this region.
With the exception of 3 patients (2.3%) a clear distribution to one of the two classes has been possible. 117 patients were supplied successfully with a sagittal realignment test-brace (physio-logic® brace) and 13 with a sagittal delordosing brace (spondylogic® brace). There were patients with scoliosies and hyperkyphosiesbrace). Therefore a clear distribution of the patients from this sample to either chronic postural or chronic instability back pain was possible. In 2.3% a combined chronic low back pain from the findings obtained seems reasonable.
Chronic unspecific low back pain is possible to clearly be classified physically. This functional classification is necessary to decide on which specific conservative approach (physical therapy, braces) should be used.
Other factors than spinal deformities contribute to chronic low back pain.
The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of a new classification system for low back-related leg pain arising from neural tissue dysfunction. Leg pain is a frequent accompaniment to back pain and is an indicator of the severity and prognosis of the disorder. For optimal patient care, treatment should be directed according to the identified pathophysiological mechanisms. The authors have proposed a sub-classification of neural low back-related leg pain into four categories, each requiring a different management strategy: Central Sensitization (CS), comprising major features of sensitization of the somatosensory system; Denervation (D), arising from significant axonal compromise without evidence of major central nervous system changes; Peripheral Nerve Sensitization (PNS), arising from nerve trunk inflammation without clinical evidence of significant denervation; and Musculoskeletal pain (M), referred from non-neural structures such as the disc or facet joints. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrater reliability of this classification system. Forty consecutive patients with unilateral low back-related leg pain were independently assessed by five pairs of examiners using a physical examination protocol, screening for central sensitization of the somatosensory system, neurological deficit, and nerve tissue mechano-sensitization. Subjects were classified as follows: CS 30%, D 27.5%, PNS 10%, and M 32.5%. Interrater reliability was good with 80% agreement and a k of 0.72 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) .57–.86). The findings of the study demonstrate that patients with low back-related leg pain can be reliably classified to one of the four proposed groups.
Classification; Interrater Reliability; Leg Pain; Low Back Pain
Mechanisms-based classifications of pain have been advocated for their potential to aid understanding of clinical presentations of pain and improve clinical outcomes. However, the reliability of mechanisms-based classifications of pain and the clinical criteria upon which such classifications are based are not known. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the inter- and intra-examiner reliability of clinical judgments associated with: (i) mechanisms-based classifications of pain; and (ii) the identification and interpretation of individual symptoms and signs from a Delphi-derived expert consensus list of clinical criteria associated with mechanisms-based classifications of pain in patients with low back (±leg) pain disorders. The inter- and intra-examiner reliability of an examination protocol performed by two physiotherapists on two separate cohorts of 40 patients was assessed. Data were analysed using kappa and percentage of agreement values. Inter- and intra-examiner agreement associated with clinicians’ mechanisms-based classifications of low back (±leg) pain was ‘substantial’ (kappa = 0.77; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.57–0.96; % agreement = 87.5) and ‘almost perfect’ (kappa = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.92–1.00; % agreement = 92.5), respectively. Sixty-eight and 95% of items on the clinical criteria checklist demonstrated clinically acceptable (kappa ⩾ 0.61 or % agreement ⩾ 80%) inter- and intra-examiner reliability, respectively. The results of this study provide preliminary evidence supporting the reliability of clinical judgments associated with mechanisms-based classifications of pain in patients with low back (±leg) pain disorders. The reliability of mechanisms-based classifications of pain should be investigated using larger samples of patients and multiple independent examiners.
Classification; Low back pain; Pain mechanisms; Reliability
Posterior spinal ligament pathology is becoming increasingly recognized as a significant cause of low back pain. Despite the growing clinical importance of interspinous ligament degeneration in low back pain patients, formal reliability studies for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation of interspinous ligaments have not been performed. We proposed an MRI classification system for interspinous ligament degeneration and conducted a comprehensive reliability and reproducibility assessment. Fifty patients who had low back pain with or without leg discomfort (26 males and 24 females) with a mean age of 48.8 years (range 23–85 years) were studied. The classification for lumbar interspinous ligament degeneration was developed on the basis of the literature using mid-sagittal T1- and T2-weighted images. Three spine surgeons independently graded a total of 200 interspinous ligament levels. Intraobserver and interobserver reliability were assessed by kappa statistics. The frequency of disagreement was also identified. The intraobserver agreement was excellent in all readers (kappa range 0.840–0.901). The interobserver agreement was lower as expected, and was substantial to excellent (kappa range 0.726–0.818). Overall complete agreement was obtained in 87.8% of all interspinous ligament levels. A difference of 1, 2, and 3 grades occurred in 8.1, 3.0, and 1.1% of readings, respectively. This proposed MRI classification of interspinous ligament degeneration was simple, reliable, and reproducible. Its use as a standardized nomenclature in clinical and radiographic research may be recommended.
Lumbar spine; Degeneration; Interspinous ligament; Classification; Magnetic resonance imaging; Reliability
Low back pain and leg pain commonly occur together. Multiple factors can cause low back related leg pain; therefore, identification of the source of symptoms is required in order to develop an appropriate intervention program. The patient in this case presented with low back and leg pain. A patho-mechanism based classification is described in combination with the patient’s subjective and objective examination findings to guide treatment. The patient’s symptoms improved marginally with intervention addressing primarily the musculoskeletal impairments and with intervention addressing primarily the neurodynamic impairments. Full functional improvements were attained with a manual therapy intervention directed at both mechanisms simultaneously. The approach described in this case address a mixed pathology utilizing passive accessory and passive physiological lumbar mobilizations in combination with lower extremity neurodynamic mobilization. The patient reported complete resolution of symptoms after a total of seven visits over a period of 6 weeks. While specific guidelines do not yet exist for treatment based on the classification approach utilized, this case report provides an example of manual therapy to address low back related leg pain of mixed pathology.
Classification; Combined intervention; Manual therapy; Neurodynamics; Neuropathic
While clinicians generally accept that musculoskeletal low back pain (LBP) can arise from specific tissues, it remains difficult to confirm specific sources.
Based on evidence supported by diagnostic utility studies, doctors of chiropractic functioning as members of a research clinic created a diagnostic classification system, corresponding exam and checklist based on strength of evidence, and in-office efficiency.
The diagnostic classification system contains one screening category, two pain categories: Nociceptive, Neuropathic, one functional evaluation category, and one category for unknown or poorly defined diagnoses. Nociceptive and neuropathic pain categories are each divided into 4 subcategories.
This article describes and discusses the strength of evidence surrounding diagnostic categories for an in-office, clinical exam and checklist tool for LBP diagnosis. The use of a standardized tool for diagnosing low back pain in clinical and research settings is encouraged.
low back pain; chiropractic; diagnosis; evidence-based; douleurs lombaires; chiropratique; diagnostic; données probantes
Current management practices for low back pain have led to rising costs without evidence of improvement in the quality of care. Low back pain remains a diagnostic and management challenge for practitioners of many types and is now thought to be a leading global cause of disability. Beyond many published clinical practice guidelines, there are emerging, evidence-based care-pathways including stratification according to the patient's prognosis, classification-based management, diagnosis-based clinical decision guides and biopsychosocial models of care. A proposed solution for successfully addressing low back pain is to train residents at a chiropractic college public clinic to function as primary spine care practitioners, employing evidence-based care-pathways. The rationale for such is described with expected benefits to patient care, improved financial health of medical delivery systems and the training of chiropractors to successfully fill a niche in the healthcare system.
Low back pain; Diagnosis-based guide; Biopsychosocial; Care-pathways; Primary spine care practitioner
It is not known whether or not muscle spasm of the back muscles presented in patients with sciatic scoliosis caused by lumbar disc herniation produces muscle pain and/or tenderness. Pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) of the lower back and low-back pain were examined in 52 patients (13 of 52 presenting sciatic scoliosis) with lumbar disc herniation who complained of radicular pain and in 15 normal subjects. PPTs were measured at five points bilaterally using an electronic pressure algometer. Low-back pain was evaluated using visual analogue scale (VAS) ratings. All patients complained of radicular leg pain and were divided into the following three groups according to the presence of and the region of low-back pain: no low-back pain group, low-back pain with no laterality group, and low-back pain dominantly on the herniation side group; the VAS rating on the side ipsilateral to the herniation side was higher than that on the contralateral side. In the normal subjects, there were no statistically significant differences between sides in mean PPTs at all sites examined. PPTs were not lower in the spasmodic side (concave side) than the convex side in patients with sciatic scoliosis. PPTs on the herniation side were significantly lower than those on the contralateral side in patients with low-back pain dominantly on the herniation side. Furthermore, the areas of low PPTs were beyond the innervation area of dorsal ramus of L5 and S1 nerve root. It was considered that not only the peripheral mechanisms but also the hyper excitability of the central nervous system might contribute in lowering PPTs of the lower back on the herniation side.
Pressure pain threshold; Muscle spasm; Low-back pain; Lumbar disc herniation; Sciatic scoliosis
The objective is to determine if pain and disability outcomes of patients treated with neural mobilisation differ for sub-classifications of low back and leg pain (LB&LP). Radiating leg pain is a poor prognostic factor for recovery in patients with LBP. To improve outcome, a new pathomechanism-based classification system was proposed: neuropathic sensitization (NS), denervation (D), peripheral nerve sensitization (PNS) and musculoskeletal (M). Seventy-seven patients with unilateral LB&LP were recruited. Following classification, all subjects were treated seven times with neural mobilisation techniques. A successful outcome was defined as achieving a minimal clinically important change in pain intensity (11-point numerical rating scale), physical function (Roland Morris disability questionnaire) and global perceived change (7-point Likert scale: from 1 = “completely recovered” to 7 = “worse than ever”). The proportion of responders was significantly greater in PNS (55.6%) than the other three groups (NS 10%; D 14.3% and M10%). After adjusting for baseline differences, mean magnitude of improvement of the outcome measures were significantly greater in PNS compared to the other groups. Patients classified as PNS have a more favourable prognosis following neural mobilisation compared to the other groups.
Low back pain; Sciatica; Classification; Musculoskeletal manipulations; Diagnosis
Identifying relevant subgroups in patients with low back pain (LBP) is considered important to guide physical therapy practice and to improve outcomes. The aim of the present study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of a modified version of Delitto’s classification-based treatment approach compared with usual physical therapy care in patients with sub-acute and chronic LBP with 1 year follow-up.
All patients were classified using the modified version of Delitto’s classification-based system and then randomly assigned to receive either classification-based treatment or usual physical therapy care. The main clinical outcomes measured were; global perceived effect, intensity of pain, functional disability and quality of life. Costs were measured from a societal perspective. Multiple imputations were used for missing data. Uncertainty surrounding cost differences and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios was estimated using bootstrapping. Cost-effectiveness planes and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were estimated.
In total, 156 patients were included. The outcome analyses showed a significantly better outcome on global perceived effect favoring the classification-based approach, and no differences between the groups on pain, disability and quality-adjusted life-years. Mean total societal costs for the classification-based group were €2,287, and for the usual physical therapy care group €2,020. The difference was €266 (95% CI €-720 to €1,612) and not statistically significant. Cost-effectiveness analyses showed that the classification-based approach was not cost-effective in comparison with usual physical therapy care for any clinical outcome measure.
The classification-based treatment approach as used in this study was not cost-effective in comparison with usual physical therapy care in a population of patients with sub-acute and chronic LBP.
Low back pain; Economic evaluation; Cost-effectiveness analysis; RCT; Classification
Chronic low back pain is a common clinical problem. As medication, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are generally used; however, they are sometimes non-effective. Recently, opioids have been used for the treatment of chronic low back pain, and since 2010, transdermal fentanyl has been used to treat chronic non-cancer pain in Japan. The purpose of the current study was to examine the efficacy of transdermal fentanyl in the treatment of chronic low back pain.
Materials and Methods
This study included patients (n=62) that suffered from chronic low back pain and were non-responsive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Their conditions consisted of non-specific low back pain, multiple back operations, and specific low back pain awaiting surgery. Patients were given transdermal fentanyl for chronic low back pain. Scores of the visual analogue scale and the Oswestry Disability Index, as well as adverse events were evaluated before and after therapy.
Overall, visual analogue scale scores and Oswestry Disability Index scores improved significantly after treatment. Transdermal fentanyl (12.5 to 50 µg/h) was effective in reducing low back pain in 45 of 62 patients; however, it was not effective in 17 patients. Patients who experienced the most improvement were those with specific low back pain awaiting surgery. Adverse events were seen in 40% of patients (constipation, 29%; nausea, 24%; itching, 24%).
Disability Index scores in 73% of patients, especially those with specific low back pain awaiting surgery; however, it did not decrease pain in 27% of patients, including patients with non-specific low back pain or multiple back operations.
Transdermal fentanyl; low back pain; efficacy; adverse events
Background: Non-specific chronic low back pain disorders have been proven resistant to change, and there is still a lack of clear evidence for one specific treatment intervention being superior to another.
Methods: This randomized controlled trial aimed to investigate the efficacy of a behavioural approach to management, classification-based cognitive functional therapy, compared with traditional manual therapy and exercise. Linear mixed models were used to estimate the group differences in treatment effects. Primary outcomes at 12-month follow-up were Oswestry Disability Index and pain intensity, measured with numeric rating scale. Inclusion criteria were as follows: age between 18 and 65 years, diagnosed with non-specific chronic low back pain for >3 months, localized pain from T12 to gluteal folds, provoked with postures, movement and activities. Oswestry Disability Index had to be >14% and pain intensity last 14 days >2/10. A total of 121 patients were randomized to either classification-based cognitive functional therapy group n = 62) or manual therapy and exercise group (n > = 59).
Results: The classification-based cognitive functional therapy group displayed significantly superior outcomes to the manual therapy and exercise group, both statistically (p < 0.001) and clinically. For Oswestry Disability Index, the classification-based cognitive functional therapy group improved by 13.7 points, and the manual therapy and exercise group by 5.5 points. For pain intensity, the classification-based cognitive functional therapy improved by 3.2 points, and the manual therapy and exercise group by 1.5 points.
Conclusions: The classification-based cognitive functional therapy produced superior outcomes for non-specific chronic low back pain compared with traditional manual therapy and exercise.
A medical, psychological, and sociological study of 391 male employees in a Swedish pulp and paper industry was performed in 1961. Factors associated with back pain and back abnormality were investigated. Univariate analyses showed associations of back pain with occupational status, low education, duration of employment, low performance on cognitive tests, and neuroticism. Back abnormalities evaluated on the basis of physical examination showed in principle the same associations but the strength as well as the significances were stronger. Multiple logistic regression analyses using data for manual workers showed that neuroticism and duration of employment were directly associated with back pain. The same two variables and low performance on one of the psychological tests were directly associated with back abnormalities. Age showed no direct association with back pain or back abnormalities. Strong associations between back pain and back abnormalities with both perceived health and general working capacity and the doctor's evaluation in the same areas were demonstrated.
Aims: To describe the presence of musculoskeletal co-morbidity of the neck and upper extremities among industrial workers with low back pain, and to examine whether it has an impact on healthcare utilisation and sickness absence for low back pain.
Methods: A self administered questionnaire was used to collect data from 505 industrial workers (response 86%).
Results: The 12 month prevalence of low back pain was 50%. Among subjects with low back pain the 12 month prevalence of musculoskeletal co-morbidity of the neck and upper extremities was 68%. Among workers with low back pain, subjects with high pain intensity or disabling low back pain were more likely to have musculoskeletal co-morbidity. In comparison to the subjects who report back pain only, subjects with co-morbidity showed worse general health and health related quality of life. No impact of upper extremity co-morbidity was found on healthcare utilisation, and sickness absence due to low back pain.
Conclusions: This study provides no evidence that musculoskeletal co-morbidity of the neck and upper extremities influences the choice to seek care or take sick leave due to low back pain among industrial manual workers. For occupational health practitioners the finding of a high co-morbidity is important to consider when implementing workplace interventions aimed at the reduction of specific musculoskeletal complaints, since the controls for one musculoskeletal complaint may impact adversely on another musculoskeletal complaint. Researchers who perform low back pain intervention studies using generic health measures, should take into account the impact of musculoskeletal co-morbidity on these measures.
Over 20 years ago the term non-specific low back pain became popular to convey the limitations of our knowledge of the pathological source of most people’s low back pain. Knowledge of underlying pathology has advanced little since then, despite limited improvements in outcomes for patients with low back pain.
This paper discusses potential misunderstandings related to diagnostic studies in the field of low back pain and argues that future diagnostic studies should include and investigate pathological sources of low back pain.
Six potential misunderstandings are discussed. (1) Until diagnosis is shown to improve outcomes it is not worth investigating; (2) without a gold standard it is not possible to investigate diagnosis of low back pain; (3) the presence of pathology in some people without low back pain means it is not important; (4) dismissal of the ability to diagnose low back pain in clinical guidelines is supported by the same level of evidence as recommendations for therapy; (5) suggesting use of a diagnostic test in research is misinterpreted as endorsing its use in current clinical practice; (6) we seem to have forgotten the ‘bio’ in biopsychosocial low back pain.
We believe the misunderstandings presented in this paper partly explain the lack of investigation into pathology as an important component of the low back pain experience. A better understanding of the biological component of low back pain in relation, and in addition, to psychosocial factors is important for a more rational approach to management of low back pain.
Low back pain; Diagnosis; Back pain
Common low back pain represents a major public health problem in terms of its direct cost to health care and its socio-economic repercussions. Ten percent of individuals who suffer from low back pain evolve toward a chronic case and as such are responsible for 75 to 80% of the direct cost of low back pain. It is therefore imperative to highlight the predictive factors of low back pain chronification in order to lighten the economic burden of low back pain-related invalidity. Despite being particularly affected by low back pain, Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL) personnel have never been offered a specific, tailor-made treatment plan. The PRESLO study (with PRESLO referring to Secondary Low Back Pain Prevention, or in French, PREvention Secondaire de la LOmbalgie), proposed by HCL occupational health services and the Centre Médico-Chirurgical et de Réadaptation des Massues – Croix Rouge Française, is a randomized trial that aims to evaluate the feasibility and efficiency of a global secondary low back pain prevention program for the low back pain sufferers among HCL hospital personnel, a population at risk for recurrence and chronification. This program, which is based on the concept of physical retraining, employs a multidisciplinary approach uniting physical activity, cognitive education about low back pain and lumbopelvic morphotype analysis. No study targeting populations at risk for low back pain chronification has as yet evaluated the efficiency of lighter secondary prevention programs.
This study is a two-arm parallel randomized controlled trial proposed to all low back pain sufferers among HCL workers, included between October 2008 and July 2011 and followed over two years. The personnel following their usual treatment (control group) and those following the global prevention program in addition to their usual treatment (intervention group) are compared in terms of low back pain recurrence and the impairments measured at the beginning and the end of the study. The global prevention program is composed of a two-hour information session about low back pain and pain pathways, followed by five weekly 90-min exercise sessions with one physiotherapist per group of eight to ten personnel. A booklet for home use with patient-managed exercise instructions and information (The Back Book) is given to each participant at the end of the program.
An X-ray assessment of the entire spinal column of each participant (in both the control and intervention groups) is performed at the onset of the study in order to analyze sagittal spinopelvic balance as well as lombopelvic morphotype.
The results of this study, which is innovative and unique in France, will be available in 2014 and will make it possible to draw conclusions regarding the program’s impact on the risk of recurrence and chronification of low back pain.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov # NCT00782925
Traditionally, studies on the etiology of low back pain have been carried out in adult populations. However, since low back pain often appears early in life, more research on young populations is needed. This study focuses on the importance of social background factors and previous low back pain in the development of low back pain in military recruits.
During a three-month period, Danish military recruits with different social backgrounds live and work under the same conditions. Thus, there is an opportunity to investigate the influence of social background on the development of low back pain, when persons are removed from their usual environment and submitted to a number of new stressors. In addition, the importance of the recruits' previous low back pain history in relation to low back pain during military service was studied. This was done by means of questionnaires to 1,711 recruits before and after this three-month period.
Sedentary occupation was negatively associated with long-lasting low back pain (>30 days during the past year) at baseline with an odds ratios of 0.55 (95% CI: 0.33–0.90). This effect vanished during service. Having parents with higher education increased the risk of low back pain during service (OR: 1.9;1.2–3.0, for the highest educated group), but not of the consequences (leg pain and exemption from duty), whereas high IQ decreased the risk of these consequences (odds ratios as low as 0.2;0.1–0.8 for exemption from duty in the group with highest IQ). Long-lasting low back pain prior to service increased the risk of long-lasting low back pain (OR: 4.8;2.1–10.8), leg pain (OR: 3.3;1.3–8.3) and exemption from duty during service (OR: 5.9;2.4–14.8).
Sedentary occupation is negatively associated with low back pain at baseline. This protective effect disappears, when the person becomes physically active. For predicting trouble related to the low back during service, the duration of low back pain prior to service and IQ-level are the most important factors.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and ultrasound physical therapy (UPT) are commonly used for chronic low back pain. Although there is evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis that OMT generally reduces low back pain, there are no large clinical trials that specifically assess OMT efficacy in chronic low back pain. Similarly, there is a lack of evidence involving UPT for chronic low back pain.
The OSTEOPAThic Health outcomes In Chronic low back pain (OSTEOPATHIC) Trial is a Phase III randomized controlled trial that seeks to study 488 subjects between August 2006 and June 2010. It uses a 2 × 2 factorial design to independently assess the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain. The primary outcome is a visual analogue scale score for pain. Secondary outcomes include back-specific functioning, generic health, work disability, and satisfaction with back care.
This randomized controlled trial will potentially be the largest involving OMT. It will provide long awaited data on the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain.
Low back pain is characterised by a dynamic pattern of episodes and recovery but little is known about the long term course of back pain due to lack of cohort studies with sufficiently long follow up periods.
A cohort of 523 workers in nursing homes and homes for the elderly was followed for two years. Physical load was measured by observations at the workplace. Psychosocial factors at work, individual characteristics, and low back pain were determined by questionnaire once a year. The effect of work load on low back pain and the transition of low back pain into sickness absence was calculated with logistic regression analysis. A Markov model was used to construct a hypothetical cohort of workers with follow up of 40 years (40 cycles of 1 year) with transitional probabilities between no complaints, low back pain, and sickness due to low back pain. Permanent disability was used as end state of health.
The transitional probability from no complaints to low back pain varied between p = 0.25 and p = 0.29, from low back pain to sickness absence between p = 0.09 and p = 0.25, and recurrence of sickness absence varied between p = 0.27 and p = 0.50, depending on the level of physical load. During a 40 year career, total sickness absence due to low back pain was approximately 140 weeks (6.6%) among workers with high physical load and about 30 weeks (1.4%) among those with low physical load.
The Markov approach illustrated the potential impact of physical load on (permanent) disability due to low back pain among workers with exposure to physical load. These consequences may go unnoticed in cohort studies with follow up periods of a few years.
low back pain; Markov model; work disability; sickness absence
Low back pain is often called nonspecific pain. In this type of low back pain, various emotions and stress are known to strongly affect pain perception. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the degree of low back pain changes in people with chronic mild low back pain when they are inside and outside of an amusement park where people are supposed to have physical and psychological enjoyment.
The subjects were 23 volunteers (13 males and 10 females) aged 18 to 46 years old with a mean age of 24.0 years who had chronic low back pain. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores of low back pain and salivary amylase levels (kIU/L) of all subjects were measured at five time points: immediately after getting on the bus heading for the amusement park; 10 minutes, 1 hour (immediately after boarding the roller coaster), and 3 hours (immediately after exiting the haunted house) after arriving at the amusement park; and immediately before getting off the bus returning from the park.
The three VAS values in the amusement park (10 minutes, 1 hour, and 3 hours after arriving at the amusement park) measured were significantly lower (P < 0.05) when compared with the other two values measured immediately after getting on the bus heading for the amusement park and immediately before getting off the return bus. In salivary amylase levels, there were no statistically significant differences among the values measured at the five time points.
Low back pain was significantly alleviated when the subjects were in the amusement park, which demonstrated that enjoyable activities, though temporarily, alleviated their low back pain.
low back pain; emotion; salivary alpha-amylase activity; enjoyment activities; psychological stress
Many systems have been suggested for classifying low back pain (LBP); the most commonly used among physiotherapists involves a pathoanatomical/pathophysiological tissue classification system. Few studies have examined whether this form of classification of LBP disorders can be performed in a reliable manner between specialists with advanced training, or between specialists with advanced training and non-specialists who lack advanced training. The purpose of this paper was to examine the inter-tester reliability of two specialists, and the ability of a specialist and non-specialist to independently classify patients with LBP, utilizing clinical tests and history-based classification methods after a short educational course on the classification system. Subjects were acute or sub-acute patients with LBP who visited their occupational healthcare or municipal healthcare center. Inter-tester reliability between the specialist and non-specialists was at almost the same level: overall Kappa 0.60 (95%CI; 0.40 to 0.85), overall agreement 70%, as between the two specialists: overall Kappa 0.65 (95%CI; 0.33-0.86), overall agreement 77%. The findings suggest that a short educational course can provide rather reliable examination tools to allow non-specialized physiotherapists to classify patients according to tissue origination.
Inter-tester Reliability; Low Back Pain Classification; Orthopedic Manual Therapy
The Adams classification for discogram morphology is based on a cadaveric study. It provides the basis for several subsequent classifications proposed in the literature. However, little or no attention has been paid to its reproducibility in the clinical setting. The authors assessed the reliability of this classification using three independent observers of differing experience. One hundred and thirty-three discograms belonging to 71 patients with chronic low back pain were reviewed in a randomised and blinded manner. The morphological appearance at each discogram level was assessed and assigned a type according to the Adams classification. The exercise was repeated 3 weeks later. Respective inter- and intra-observer agreements were calculated in the standard fashion using the kappa statistic. Both inter- and intra-observer agreements were excellent (kappa=0.77–0.85). The Adams grading system for discogram morphology is consistently reproducible amongst observers with differing levels of experience. It can be safely recommended in the clinical setting as a reliable classification.
Adams' classification Discogram Discography Inter-observer variation Intra-observer variation
Pain-related fear has been associated with avoidance behavior and increased risk for chronic low back pain; however, few studies have examined how pain-related fear relates specifically to motion of the spine following an acute episode of back pain. Thirty-six participants with a recent episode of low back pain were recruited from the general population using a combination of fliers and radio advertisements. To explore the natural recovery from low back pain we recruited individuals who were not seeking medical care. Participants performed a forward bending task at 3, 6, and 12 weeks following onset of low back pain. Three-dimensional joint motions of the spine and hip were recorded using an electromagnetic tracking device. Initial assessments of low back pain and pain-related fear were then correlated with joint excursions observed during each forward bending. Lumbar motion was inversely related to pain-related fear, but not low back pain, at all three testing sessions. In contrast, hip motion was inversely related to pain at all three testing sessions but was not related to fear. These findings suggest that pain-related fear results in avoidance behavior that specifically limits or restricts motion of the lumbar spine.
Lumbar flexion; Pain-related fear; Back Pain
Several classification schemes, each with its own philosophy and categorizing method, subgroup low back pain (LBP) patients with the intent to guide treatment. Physiotherapy derived schemes usually have a movement impairment focus, but the extent to which other biological, psychological, and social factors of pain are encompassed requires exploration. Furthermore, within the prevailing 'biological' domain, the overlap of subgrouping strategies within the orthopaedic examination remains unexplored. The aim of this study was "to review and clarify through developer/expert survey, the theoretical basis and content of physical movement classification schemes, determine their relative reliability and similarities/differences, and to consider the extent of incorporation of the bio-psycho-social framework within the schemes".
A database search for relevant articles related to LBP and subgrouping or classification was conducted. Five dominant movement-based schemes were identified: Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment (MDT), Treatment Based Classification (TBC), Pathoanatomic Based Classification (PBC), Movement System Impairment Classification (MSI), and O'Sullivan Classification System (OCS) schemes. Data were extracted and a survey sent to the classification scheme developers/experts to clarify operational criteria, reliability, decision-making, and converging/diverging elements between schemes. Survey results were integrated into the review and approval obtained for accuracy.
Considerable diversity exists between schemes in how movement informs subgrouping and in the consideration of broader neurosensory, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural dimensions of LBP. Despite differences in assessment philosophy, a common element lies in their objective to identify a movement pattern related to a pain reduction strategy. Two dominant movement paradigms emerge: (i) loading strategies (MDT, TBC, PBC) aimed at eliciting a phenomenon of centralisation of symptoms; and (ii) modified movement strategies (MSI, OCS) targeted towards documenting the movement impairments associated with the pain state.
Schemes vary on: the extent to which loading strategies are pursued; the assessment of movement dysfunction; and advocated treatment approaches. A biomechanical assessment predominates in the majority of schemes (MDT, PBC, MSI), certain psychosocial aspects (fear-avoidance) are considered in the TBC scheme, certain neurophysiologic (central versus peripherally mediated pain states) and psychosocial (cognitive and behavioural) aspects are considered in the OCS scheme.