PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (103)
 

Clipboard (0)
None
Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Musculoskeletal disorders in shipyard industry: prevalence, health care use, and absenteeism 
Background
It is unclear whether the well-known risk factors for the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) also play an important role in the determining consequences of MSD in terms of sickness absence and health care use.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 853 shipyard employees. Data were collected by questionnaire on physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health, occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints, and health care use during the past year. Retrospective data on absenteeism were also available from the company register.
Results
In total, 37%, 22%, and 15% of employees reported complaints of low back, shoulder/neck, and hand/wrist during the past 12 months, respectively. Among all employees with at least one MSD, 27% visited a physician at least once and 20% took at least one period of sick leave. Various individual and work-related factors were associated with the occurrence of MSD. Health care use and absenteeism were strongest influenced by chronicity of musculoskeletal complaints and comorbidity with other musculoskeletal complaints and, to a lesser extent, by work-related factors.
Conclusion
In programmes aimed at preventing the unfavourable consequences of MSD in terms of sickness absence and health care use it is important to identify the (individual) factors that determine the development of chronicity of complaints. These factors may differ from the well-know risk factors for the occurrence of MSD that are targeted in primary prevention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-88
PMCID: PMC1676002  PMID: 17125504
2.  Prospective research on musculoskeletal disorders in office workers (PROMO): study protocol 
Background
This article describes the background and study design of the PROMO study (Prospective Research on Musculoskeletal disorders in Office workers). Few longitudinal studies have been performed to investigate the risk factors responsible for the incidence of hand, arm, shoulder and neck symptoms among office workers, given the observation that a large group of office workers might be at risk worldwide. Therefore, the PROMO study was designed. The main aim is to quantify the contribution of exposure to occupational computer use to the incidence of hand, arm, shoulder and neck symptoms. The results of this study might lead to more effective and/or cost-efficient preventive interventions among office workers.
Methods/Design
A prospective cohort study is conducted, with a follow-up of 24 months. In total, 1821 participants filled out the first questionnaire (response rate of 74%). Data on exposure and outcome is collected using web-based self-reports. Outcome assessment takes place every three months during the follow-up period. Data on computer use are collected at baseline and continuously during follow-up using a software program.
Discussion
The advantages of the PROMO study include the long follow-up period, the repeated measurement of both exposure and outcome, and the objective measurement of the duration of computer use. In the PROMO study, hypotheses stemming from lab-based and field-based research will be investigated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-55
PMCID: PMC1550718  PMID: 16822300
3.  Incidence and prevalence of upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders. A systematic appraisal of the literature 
Background
A systematic appraisal of the worldwide incidence and prevalence rates of UEDs available in scientific literature was executed to gauge the range of these estimates in various countries and to determine whether the rates are increasing in time.
Methods
Studies that recruited at least 500 people, collected data by using questionnaires, interviews and/or physical examinations, and reported incidence or prevalence rates of the whole upper-extremity including neck, were included.
Results
No studies were found with regard to the incidence of UEDs and 13 studies that reported prevalence rates of UEDs were included. The point prevalence ranged from 1.6–53%; the 12-months prevalence ranged from 2.3–41%. One study reported on the lifetime prevalence (29%). We did not find evidence of a clear increasing or decreasing pattern over time. The case definitions for UEDs used in the studies, differed enormously. Therefore, it was not possible to pool the data.
Conclusion
There are substantial differences in reported prevalence rates on UEDs. Main reason for this is the absence of a universally accepted way of labelling or defining UEDs. If we want to make progress in this field, the first requirement is to agree on unambiguous terminology and classification of EUDs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-7
PMCID: PMC1434740  PMID: 16448572
4.  Mental disorders in a population sample with musculoskeletal disorders 
Background
Studies using clinical and volunteer samples have reported an elevated prevalence of mood disorders in association with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Clinical studies using anxiety rating scales have reported inconsistent results, but studies using diagnostic instruments have reported that anxiety disorders may be even more strongly associated with arthritis than is depression. One study reported an association between lifetime substance use disorders and arthritis.
Methods
Data from iteration 1.2 of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) were used. This was a large-scale national Canadian health survey which administered the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview to a sample of 36,984 subjects randomly selected from the national population. In the CCHS 1.2, subjects were asked whether they had been diagnosed by a health professional with arthritis or rheumatism.
Results
Subjects reporting arthritis or rheumatism had an elevated prevalence of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders. The strength of association resembled that seen in an omnibus category reporting any chronic condition, but was weaker than that seen with back pain or fibromyalgia. The effect of arthritis or rheumatism interacted with age, such that the odds ratios became smaller with increasing age. Mood and anxiety disorders, along with arthritis or rheumatism made an independent contribution to disability.
Conclusion
Arthritis is associated with psychiatric morbidity in the general population, and this morbidity is seen across a variety of mental disorders. The strength of association is consistent with that seen in persons with other self-reported medical conditions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-37
PMCID: PMC1482703  PMID: 16638139
5.  Effectiveness of low-Dye taping for the short-term treatment of plantar heel pain: a randomised trial 
Background
Plantar heel pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders of the foot and ankle. Treatment of the condition is usually conservative, however the effectiveness of many treatments frequently used in clinical practice, including supportive taping of the foot, has not been established. We performed a participant-blinded randomised trial to assess the effectiveness of low-Dye taping, a commonly used short-term treatment for plantar heel pain.
Methods
Ninety-two participants with plantar heel pain (mean age 50 ± 14 years; mean body mass index 30 ± 6; and median self-reported duration of symptoms 10 months, range of 2 to 240 months) were recruited from the general public between February and June 2005. Participants were randomly allocated to (i) low-Dye taping and sham ultrasound or (ii) sham ultrasound alone. The duration of follow-up for each participant was one week. No participants were lost to follow-up. Outcome measures included 'first-step' pain (measured on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale) and the Foot Health Status Questionnaire domains of foot pain, foot function and general foot health.
Results
Participants treated with low-Dye taping reported a small improvement in 'first-step' pain after one week of treatment compared to those who did not receive taping. The estimate of effect on 'first-step' pain favoured the low-Dye tape (ANCOVA adjusted mean difference -12.3 mm; 95% CI -22.4 to -2.2; P = 0.017). There were no other statistically significant differences between groups. Thirteen participants in the taping group experienced an adverse event however most were mild to moderate and short-lived.
Conclusion
When used for the short-term treatment of plantar heel pain, low-Dye taping provides a small improvement in 'first-step' pain compared with a sham intervention after a one-week period.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-64
PMCID: PMC1569832  PMID: 16895612
6.  The shortened disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand questionnaire (QuickDASH): validity and reliability based on responses within the full-length DASH 
Background
The 30-item disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) questionnaire is increasingly used in clinical research involving upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. From the original DASH a shorter version, the 11-item QuickDASH, has been developed. Little is known about the discriminant ability of score changes for the QuickDASH compared to the DASH. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of the QuickDASH and its cross-sectional and longitudinal validity and reliability.
Methods
The study was based on extracting QuickDASH item responses from the responses to the full-length DASH questionnaire completed by 105 patients with a variety of upper extremity disorders before surgery and at follow-up 6 to 21 months after surgery. The DASH and QuickDASH scores were compared for the whole population and for different diagnostic groups. For longitudinal construct validity the effect size and standardized response mean were calculated. Analyses with ROC curves were performed to compare the ability of the DASH and QuickDASH to discriminate among patients classified according to the magnitude of self-rated improvement. Cross-sectional and test-retest reliability was assessed.
Results
The mean DASH score was 34 (SD 22) and the mean QuickDASH score was 39 (SD 24) at baseline. For the different diagnostic groups the mean and median QuickDASH scores were higher than the corresponding DASH scores. For the whole population, the mean difference between the QuickDASH and DASH baseline scores was 4.2 (95% CI 3.2–5.3), follow-up scores was 2.6 (1.7–3.4), and change scores was 1.7 (0.6–2.8).
The overall effect size and standardized response mean measured with the DASH and the QuickDASH were similar. In the ROC analysis of change scores among patients who rated their arm status as somewhat or much better and those who rated it as unchanged the difference in the area under the ROC curve for the DASH and QuickDASH was 0.01 (95% CI -0.05–0.07) indicating similar discriminant ability.
Cross-sectional and test-retest reliability of the DASH and QuickDASH were similar.
Conclusion
The results indicate that the QuickDASH can be used instead of the DASH with similar precision in upper extremity disorders.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-44
PMCID: PMC1513569  PMID: 16709254
7.  Costs of shoulder pain in primary care consulters: a prospective cohort study in The Netherlands 
Background
Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information on the costs associated with health care use and loss of productivity in patients with shoulder pain is very scarce. The objective of this study was to determine shoulder pain related costs during the 6 months after first consultation in general practice
Methods
A prospective cohort study consisting of 587 patients with a new episode of shoulder pain was conducted with a follow-up period of 6 months. Data on costs were collected by means of a cost diary during 6 months.
Results
84% of the patients completed all cost diaries. The mean consumption of direct health care and non-health related care was low. During 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain, the mean total costs a patient generated were €689. Almost 50% of this total concerned indirect costs, caused by sick leave from paid work. A small proportion (12%) of the population generated 74% of the total costs.
Conclusion
The total costs in the 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain in primary care, mostly generated by a small part of the population, are not alarmingly high.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-83
PMCID: PMC1635047  PMID: 17078883
8.  The (cost-)effectiveness of a lifestyle physical activity intervention in addition to a work style intervention on the recovery from neck and upper limb symptoms in computer workers 
Background
Neck and upper limb symptoms are frequently reported by computer workers. Work style interventions are most commonly used to reduce work-related neck and upper limb symptoms but lifestyle physical activity interventions are becoming more popular to enhance workers health and reduce work-related symptoms. A combined approach targeting work style and lifestyle physical activity seems promising, but little is known on the effectiveness of such combined interventions.
Methods/design
The RSI@Work study is a randomised controlled trial that aims to assess the added value of a lifestyle physical activity intervention in addition to a work style intervention to reduce neck and upper limb symptoms in computer workers. Computer workers from seven Dutch companies with frequent or long-term neck and upper limb symptoms in the preceding six months and/or the last two weeks are randomised into three groups: (1) work style group, (2) work style and physical activity group, or (3) control group. The work style intervention consists of six group meetings in a six month period that take place at the workplace, during work time, and under the supervision of a specially trained counsellor. The goal of this intervention is to stimulate workplace adjustment and to improve body posture, the number and quality of breaks and coping behaviour with regard to high work demands. In the combined (work style and physical activity) intervention the additional goal is to increase moderate to heavy physical activity. The control group receives usual care. Primary outcome measures are degree of recovery, pain intensity, disability, number of days with neck and upper limb symptoms, and number of months without neck and upper limb symptoms. Outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and six and 12 months after randomisation. Cost-effectiveness of the group meetings will be assessed using an employer's perspective.
Discussion
This study will be one of the first to assess the added value of a lifestyle physical activity intervention in addition to a work style intervention in reducing neck and upper limb symptoms of computer workers. The results of the study are expected in 2007.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-80
PMCID: PMC1634849  PMID: 17062141
9.  The association of comorbidities, utilization and costs for patients identified with low back pain 
Background
Existing studies have examined the high prevalence of LBP along with the high treatment costs of patients with low back pain (LBP). Various factors have been shown to be correlated or predictive of chronic or episodic LBP including the characteristics of the initial episode, pain, comorbid conditions, psychosocial issues, and opiate use. This study replicates and extends earlier studies by examining the association of patient characteristics including baseline comorbidities with patterns of healthcare service use and cost.
Methods
This is a retrospective analysis of measures of comorbidities, healthcare use, and cost for patients identified with LBP, stratified by the number of LBP episodes. Administrative data associated with outpatient and hospital based care for the years 1996 through 2001, were used to identify adult patients with LBP. LBP patients continuously enrolled for 12 months prior and 24 months after their initial LBP event were included in the study. A LBP episode was identified as the number of 30-day periods where a patient had one or more healthcare events with a diagnosis consistent with LBP. Chi-square and multivariate regression analyses were employed to estimate the variation in utilization and costs.
Results
Of 16,567 patients enrolled, 67% were identified with only one LBP episode and 4.5% had ≥6. The prevalence of comorbidities, analgesic use, and healthcare service use, varied by the number of back pain episodes. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, psychotic illness, depression, use of opiates and NSAIDs were associated with significant incremental increases in costs (P < .003).
Conclusion
Physical and mental health co-morbidities and measures of analgesic use were associated with chronicity, healthcare utilization and costs. Given the association of comorbidities and cost for patients with LBP, management approaches that are effective across chronic illnesses may prove to be beneficial for high cost patients identified with LBP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-72
PMCID: PMC1584237  PMID: 16982001
10.  Primary care consultation, hospital admission, sick leave and disability pension owing to neck and low back pain: a 12-year prospective cohort study in a rural population 
Background
Neck and low back pain are common musculoskeletal complaints generating large societal costs in Western populations. In this study we evaluate the magnitude of long-term health outcomes for neck and low back pain, taking possible confounders into account.
Method
A cohort of 2,351 Swedish male farmers and rural non-farmers (40–60 years old) was established in 1989. In the first survey, conducted in 1990–91, 1,782 men participated. A 12-year follow-up survey was made in 2002–03 and 1,405 men participated at both times. After exclusion of 58 individuals reporting a specific back diagnosis in 1990–91, the study cohort encompassed 1,347 men. The health outcomes primary care consultation, hospital admission, sick leave and disability pension were assessed in structured interviews in 2002–03 (survey 2). Symptoms and potential confounders were assessed at survey 1, with the exception of rating of depression and anxiety, which was assessed at survey 2. Multiple logistic regression generating odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) was performed to adjust the associations between reported symptoms and health outcomes for potential confounders (age, farming, workload, education, demand and control at work, body mass index, smoking, snuff use, alcohol consumption, psychiatric symptoms and specific back diagnoses during follow up).
Results
Of the 836 men reporting current neck and/or low back pain at survey 1, 21% had had at least one primary care consultation for neck or low back problems, 7% had been on sick leave and 4% had disability pension owing to the condition during the 12 year follow up. Current neck and/or low back pain at survey 1 predicted primary care consultations (OR = 4.10, 95% CI 2.24–7.49) and sick leave (OR = 3.22, 95% CI 1.13–9.22) after potential confounders were considered. Lower education and more psychiatric symptoms were independently related to sick leave. Lower education and snuff use independently predicted disability pension.
Conclusion
Few individuals with neck or low back pain were on sick leave or were granted a disability pension owing to neck or low back problems during 12 years of follow up. Symptoms at baseline independently predicted health outcomes. Educational level and symptoms of depression/anxiety were important modifiers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-66
PMCID: PMC1560131  PMID: 16907991
11.  Quantitative ultrasound tissue characterization in shoulder and thigh muscles – a new approach 
Background
The echogenicity patterns of ultrasound scans contain information of tissue composition in muscles. The aim was: (1) to develop a quantitative ultrasound image analysis to characterize tissue composition in terms of intensity and structure of the ultrasound images, and (2) to use the method for characterization of ultrasound images of the supraspinatus muscle, and the vastus lateralis muscle.
Methods
Computerized texture analyses employing first-order and higher-order grey-scale statistics were developed to objectively characterize ultrasound images of m. supraspinatus and m. vastus lateralis from 9 healthy participants.
Results
The mean grey-scale intensity was higher in the vastus lateralis muscle (p < 0.05) than in the supraspinatus muscle (average value of middle measuring site 51.4 compared to 35.0). Furthermore, the number of spatially connected and homogeneous regions (blobs) was higher in the vastus lateralis (p < 0.05) than in the supraspinatus (average for m. vastus lateralis: 0.092 mm-2 and for m. supraspinatus: 0.016 mm-2).
Conclusion
The higher intensity and the higher number of blobs in the vastus lateralis muscle indicates that the thigh muscle contained more non-contractile components than the supraspinatus muscle, and that the muscle was coarser. The image analyses supplemented each other and gave a more complete description of the tissue composition in the muscle than the mean grey-scale value alone.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-2
PMCID: PMC1402295  PMID: 16420695
12.  The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on foot function in the early stages of disease: a clinical case series 
Background
Foot involvement occurs early in rheumatoid arthritis but the extent to which this impacts on the structure and function leading to impairment and foot related disability is unknown. The purpose of this study was to compare clinical disease activity, impairment, disability, and foot function in normal and early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) feet using standardised clinical measures and 3D gait analysis.
Methods
Twelve RA patients with disease duration ≤2 years and 12 able-bodied adults matched for age and sex underwent 3D gait analysis to measure foot function. Disease impact was measured using the Leeds Foot impact Scale (LFIS) along with standard clinical measures of disease activity, pain and foot deformity. For this small sample, the mean differences between the groups and associated confidence intervals were calculated using the t distribution
Results
Moderate-to-high foot impairment and related disability were detected amongst the RA patients. In comparison with age- and sex-matched controls, the patients with early RA walked slower (1.05 m/s Vs 1.30 m/s) and had a longer double-support phase (19.3% Vs 15.8%). In terminal stance, the heel rise angle was reduced in the patients in comparison with normal (-78.9° Vs -85.7°). Medial arch height was lower and peak eversion in stance greater in the RA patients. The peak ankle plantarflexion power profile was lower in the patients in comparison with the controls (3.4 W/kg Vs 4.6 W/kg). Pressure analysis indicated that the RA patients had a reduced lesser toe contact area (7.6 cm2 Vs 8.1 cm2), elevated peak forefoot pressure (672 kPa Vs 553 kPa) and a larger mid-foot contact area (24.6 cm2 Vs 19.4 cm2).
Conclusion
Analysis detected small but clinically important changes in foot function in a small cohort of RA patients with disease duration <2 years. These were accompanied by active joint disease and impairment and disability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-102
PMCID: PMC1764742  PMID: 17184535
13.  Neck ligament strength is decreased following whiplash trauma 
Background
Previous clinical studies have documented successful neck pain relief in whiplash patients using nerve block and radiofrequency ablation of facet joint afferents, including capsular ligament nerves. No previous study has documented injuries to the neck ligaments as determined by altered dynamic mechanical properties due to whiplash. The goal of the present study was to determine the dynamic mechanical properties of whiplash-exposed human cervical spine ligaments. Additionally, the present data were compared to previously reported control data. The ligaments included the anterior and posterior longitudinal, capsular, and interspinous and supraspinous ligaments, middle-third disc, and ligamentum flavum.
Methods
A total of 98 bone-ligament-bone specimens (C2–C3 to C7-T1) were prepared from six cervical spines following 3.5, 5, 6.5, and 8 g rear impacts and pre- and post-impact flexibility testing. The specimens were elongated to failure at a peak rate of 725 (SD 95) mm/s. Failure force, elongation, and energy absorbed, as well as stiffness were determined. The mechanical properties were statistically compared among ligaments, and to the control data (significance level: P < 0.05; trend: P < 0.1). The average physiological ligament elongation was determined using a mathematical model.
Results
For all whiplash-exposed ligaments, the average failure elongation exceeded the average physiological elongation. The highest average failure force of 204.6 N was observed in the ligamentum flavum, significantly greater than in middle-third disc and interspinous and supraspinous ligaments. The highest average failure elongation of 4.9 mm was observed in the interspinous and supraspinous ligaments, significantly greater than in the anterior longitudinal ligament, middle-third disc, and ligamentum flavum. The average energy absorbed ranged from 0.04 J by the middle-third disc to 0.44 J by the capsular ligament. The ligamentum flavum was the stiffest ligament, while the interspinous and supraspinous ligaments were most flexible. The whiplash-exposed ligaments had significantly lower (P = 0.036) failure force, 149.4 vs. 186.0 N, and a trend (P = 0.078) towards less energy absorption capacity, 308.6 vs. 397.0 J, as compared to the control data.
Conclusion
The present decreases in neck ligament strength due to whiplash provide support for the ligament-injury hypothesis of whiplash syndrome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-103
PMCID: PMC1764743  PMID: 17184536
14.  Is the Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ) a useful tool for predicting participation in a self-management programme? Further evidence of validity, on a sample of UK pain clinic patients 
Background
In the context of finite health resources, encouraging self-management of chronic conditions is important. Indeed, it is a key priority in the UK. An increasing number of self-management programmes are becoming available. However, patients may not always choose to participate in them. Some will prefer a more directed or medically orientated treatment. The acceptability of self-management programmes for patients suffering from chronic pain is an important issue. Few measures exist that examine the process of change to a self-management approach. The Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ) was evaluated for this purpose in the present study. Hypotheses were centred around criterion and construct validity of the PSOCQ.
Methods
A sample of pain patients was surveyed about their interest in participating in a lay-led self-management programme ('the Expert Patients Programme'). In addition, participants completed two psychometric measures: the Pain Stages of Change Questionnaire (PSOCQ) together with the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire (CPAQ). This is the first study as far as we are aware to examine these two scales together. The psychometric properties of the PSOCQ were examined. Analyses focused on the associations between the PSOCQ scores and interest in participating in the self-management programme. Further associations were examined between the PSOCQ and the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire.
Results
The results demonstrated qualified support for the PSOCQ, in particular the Contemplation sub-scale. There was a significant positive association between interest and likelihood of joining the self-management programme and contemplation scores. The action and maintenance sub-scales appeared to be measuring a unitary dimension. The associations between the PSOCQ and the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire were in the directions predicted. The limitations of the study were discussed.
Conclusion
The results showed some support for the PSOCQ as a potentially useful tool in assessing who may or may not be likely to join a self-management course.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-101
PMCID: PMC1769371  PMID: 17169141
15.  Modeling early recovery of physical function following hip and knee arthroplasty 
Background
Information on early recovery after arthroplasty is needed to help benchmark progress and make appropriate decisions concerning patient rehabilitation needs. The purpose of this study was to model early recovery of physical function in patients undergoing total hip (THA) and knee (TKA) arthroplasty, using physical performance and self-report measures.
Methods
A sample of convenience of 152 subjects completed testing, of which 69 (mean age: 66.77 ± 8.23 years) underwent THA and 83 (mean age: 60.25 ± 11.19 years) TKA. Postoperatively, patients were treated using standardized care pathways and rehabilitation protocols. Using a repeated measures design, patients were assessed at multiple time points over the first four postoperative months. Outcome measures included the Lower Extremity Function Scale (LEFS), the physical function subscale of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC PF), the 6 minute walk test (6 MWT), timed up and go test (TUG) and a timed stair test (ST). Average recovery curves for each of the measures were characterized using hierarchical linear modeling. Predictors of recovery were sequentially modeled after validation of the basic developmental models.
Results
Slopes of recovery were greater in the first 6 to 9 weeks with a second-degree polynomial growth term (weeks squared) providing a reasonable fit for the data over the study interval. Different patterns of recovery were observed between the self-report measures of physical function and the performance measures. In contrast to the models for the WOMAC PF and the LEFS, site of arthroplasty was a significant predictor (p = 0.001) in all of the physical performance measure models with the patients post TKA initially demonstrating higher function. Site of arthroplasty (p = 0.025) also predicted the rate of change for patients post THA and between 9 to 11 weeks after surgery, the THA group surpassed the function of the patients post TKA.
Conclusion
Knowledge about the predicted growth curves will assist clinicians in referencing patient progress, and determining the critical time points for measuring change. The study has contributed further evidence to highlight the benefit of using physical performance measures to learn about the patients' actual level of disability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-100
PMCID: PMC1712335  PMID: 17156487
16.  Acupuncture for chronic neck pain: a pilot for a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Acupuncture is increasingly being used for many conditions including chronic neck pain. However the evidence remains inconclusive, indicating the need for further well-designed research. The aim of this study was to conduct a pilot randomised controlled parallel arm trial, to establish key features required for the design and implementation of a large-scale trial on acupuncture for chronic neck pain.
Methods
Patients whose GPs had diagnosed neck pain were recruited from one general practice, and randomised to receive usual GP care only, or acupuncture (up to 10 treatments over 3 months) as an adjunctive treatment to usual GP care. The primary outcome measure was the Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) at 3 months. The primary analysis was to determine the sample size for the full scale study.
Results
Of the 227 patients with neck pain identified from the GP database, 28 (12.3%) consenting patients were eligible to participate in the pilot and 24 (10.5%) were recruited to the trial. Ten patients were randomised to acupuncture, receiving an average of eight treatments from one of four acupuncturists, and 14 were randomised to usual GP care alone. The sample size for the full scale trial was calculated from a clinically meaningful difference of 5% on the NPQ and, from this pilot, an adjusted standard deviation of 15.3%. Assuming 90% power at the 5% significance level, a sample size of 229 would be required in each arm in a large-scale trial when allowing for a loss to follow-up rate of 14%. In order to achieve this sample, one would need to identify patients from databases of GP practices with a total population of 230,000 patients, or approximately 15 GP practices roughly equal in size to the one involved in this study (i.e. 15,694 patients).
Conclusion
This pilot study has allowed a number of recommendations to be made to facilitate the design of a large-scale trial, which in turn will help to clarify the existing evidence base on acupuncture for neck pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-99
PMCID: PMC1713236  PMID: 17156464
17.  Serum levels of Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) increase temporarily after physical exercise in patients with knee osteoarthritis 
Background
COMP (Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) is a matrix protein, which is currently studied as a potential serum marker for cartilage processes in osteoarthritis (OA). The influence of physical exercise on serum COMP is not fully elucidated.
The objective of the present study was to monitor serum levels of COMP during a randomised controlled trial of physical exercise vs. standardised rest in individuals with symptomatic and radiographic knee OA.
Methods
Blood samples were collected from 58 individuals at predefined time points before and after exercise or rest, one training group and one control group. The physical exercise consisted of a one-hour supervised session twice a week and daily home exercises. In a second supplementary study 7 individuals were subjected to the same exercise program and sampling of blood was performed at fixed intervals before, immediately after, 30 and 60 minutes after the exercise session and then with 60 minutes interval for another five hours after exercise to monitor the short-term changes of serum COMP. COMP was quantified with a sandwich-ELISA (AnaMar Medical, Lund, Sweden).
Results
Before exercise or rest no significant differences in COMP levels were seen between the groups. After 60 minutes exercise serum COMP levels increased (p < 0.001). After 60 minutes of rest the serum levels decreased (p = 0.003). Median serum COMP values in samples obtained prior to exercise or rest at baseline and after 24 weeks did not change between start and end of the study. In the second study serum COMP was increased immediately after exercise (p = 0.018) and had decreased to baseline levels after 30 minutes.
Conclusion
Serum COMP levels increased during exercise in individuals with knee OA, whereas levels decreased during rest. The increased serum COMP levels were normalized 30 minutes after exercise session, therefore we suggest that samples of blood for analysis of serum COMP should be drawn after at least 30 minutes rest in a seated position. No increase was seen after a six-week exercise program indicating that any effect of individualized supervised exercise on cartilage turnover is transient.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-98
PMCID: PMC1712338  PMID: 17156423
18.  A prediction rule for shoulder pain related sick leave: a prospective cohort study 
Background
Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information about predictors of shoulder pain related sick leave in workers is scarce and inconsistent. The objective was to develop a clinical prediction rule for calculating the risk of shoulder pain related sick leave for individual workers, during the 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
Methods
A prospective cohort study with 6 months follow-up was conducted among 350 workers with a new episode of shoulder pain. Potential predictors included the results of a physical examination, sociodemographic variables, disease characteristics (duration of symptoms, sick leave in the 2 months prior to consultation, pain intensity, disability, comorbidity), physical activity, physical work load, psychological factors, and the psychosocial work environment. The main outcome measure was sick leave during 6 months following first consultation in general practice.
Results
Response rate to the follow-up questionnaire at 6 months was 85%. During the 6 months after first consultation 30% (89/298) of the workers reported sick leave. 16% (47) reported 10 days sick leave or more. Sick leave during this period was predicted in a multivariable model by a longer duration of sick leave prior to consultation, more shoulder pain, a perceived cause of strain or overuse during regular activities, and co-existing psychological complaints. The discriminative ability of the prediction model was satisfactory with an area under the curve of 0.70 (95% CI 0.64–0.76).
Conclusion
Although 30% of all workers with shoulder pain reported sick leave during follow-up, the duration of sick leave was limited to a few days in most workers. We developed a prediction rule and a score chart that can be used by general practitioners and occupational health care providers to calculate the absolute risk of sick leave in individual workers with shoulder pain, which may help to identify workers who need additional attention. The performance and applicability of our model needs to be tested in other working populations with shoulder pain to enable valid and reliable use of the score chart in everyday practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-97
PMCID: PMC1762015  PMID: 17150087
19.  A systematic review of outcomes assessed in randomized controlled trials of surgical interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a reference tool 
Background
A wide range of outcomes have been assessed in trials of interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), however there appears to be little consensus on what constitutes the most relevant outcomes. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify the outcomes assessed in randomized clinical trials of surgical interventions for CTS and to compare these to the concepts contained in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).
Methods
The bibliographic databases Medline, AMED and CINAHL were searched for randomized controlled trials of surgical treatment for CTS. The outcomes assessed in these trials were identified, classified and linked to the different domains of the ICF.
Results
Twenty-eight studies were retrieved which met the inclusion criteria. The most frequently assessed outcomes were self-reported symptom resolution, grip or pinch strength and return to work. The majority of outcome measures employed assessed impairment of body function and body structure and a small number of studies used measures of activity and participation.
Conclusion
The ICF provides a useful framework for identifying the concepts contained in outcome measures employed to date in trials of surgical intervention for CTS and may help in the selection of the most appropriate domains to be assessed, especially where studies are designed to capture the impact of the intervention at individual and societal level. Comparison of results from different studies and meta-analysis would be facilitated through the use of a core set of standardised outcome measures which cross all domains of the ICF. Further work on developing consensus on such a core set is needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-96
PMCID: PMC1713237  PMID: 17147807
20.  Correlations between subjective treatment responses and plantar pressure parameters of metatarsal pad treatment in metatarsalgia patients: a prospective study 
Background
Metatarsalgia is related to repetitive high-pressure loading under the metatarsal head (MH) that causes pain. The high pressure under the MH can be reduced by adequately applying metatarsal pads (MPs). Plantar pressure measurements may provide a method to objectively evaluate pressure loading under the MH. However, it is still unclear if the decrease in plantar pressure under the MH after MP treatment is associated with subjective improvement. This study aims to explore the correlations between subjective pain improvement and outcome rating, and the plantar pressure parameters in metatarsalgia patients treated using MPs.
Methods
Thirteen patients (a total of 18 feet) with secondary metatarsalgia were included in this study. Teardrop-shaped MPs made of polyurethane foam were applied just proximal to the second MH by an experienced physiatrist. Insole plantar pressure was measured under the second MH before and after MP application. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores of pain were obtained from all subjects before and after 2 weeks of MP treatment. The subjects rated using four-point subjective outcome scales. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to analyze the difference between the plantar pressure parameters and VAS scores before and after treatment. The Kruskal-Wallis test was applied to compare the plantar pressure parameters in each outcome group. Pearson's correlation was applied to analyze the correlation between the changes in plantar pressure parameters and VAS scores. Statistical significance was set as p < 0.05.
Results
MP application decreased the maximal peak pressure (MPP) and pressure-time integral (PTI) under the second MH and also statistically improved subjective pain scores. However, neither the pre-treatment values of the MPP and PTI shift in the position of the MPP after treatment, nor the age, gender and body mass index (BMI) of the subjects were statistically correlated with subjective improvement. Declines in the PTI and MPP values after MP application were statistically correlated with the improvement in VAS scores (r = 0.77, R2 = 0.59, p < 0.001; r = 0.60, R2 = 0.36, p = 0.009).
Conclusion
We found that the successful decline in the PTI and MPP under the second MH after MP application was correlated to subjective pain improvement. This study provides a strategy for the further design and application of MPs for metatarsalgia treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-95
PMCID: PMC1712337  PMID: 17147793
21.  Progressive non-infectious anterior vertebral fusion, split cord malformation and situs inversus visceralis 
Background
Progressive non-infectious anterior vertebral fusion is a unique spinal disorder with distinctive radiological features. Early radiographic findings consist of narrowing of the anterior aspect of the intervertebral disk with adjacent end plate erosions. There is a specific pattern of progression. The management needs a multi-disciplinary approach with major input from the orthopaedic surgeon.
Case report
We report a 12-year-old-female with progressive anterior vertebral fusion. This occurred at three vertebral levels. In the cervical spine there was progressive fusion of the lateral masses of the Axis with C3. Secondly, at the cervico-thoracic level, a severe, progressive, anterior thoracic vertebral fusion (C7-T5) and (T6-T7) resulted in the development of a thick anterior bony ridge and massive sclerosis and thirdly; progressive anterior fusion at L5-S1. Whereas at the level of the upper lumbar spines (L1) a split cord malformation was encountered. Situs inversus visceralis was an additional malformation. The role of the CT scan in detecting the details of the vertebral malformations was important. To our knowledge, neither this malformation complex and nor the role of the CT scan in evaluating these patients, have previously been described.
Conclusion
The constellations of the skeletal abnormalities in our patient do not resemble any previously reported conditions with progressive anterior vertebral fusion. We also emphasise the important role of computerized tomography in the investigation of these patients in order to improve our understanding of the underlying pathology, and to comprehend the various stages of the progressive fusion process. 3D-CT scan was performed to improve assessment of the spinal changes and to further evaluate the catastrophic complications if fracture of the ankylosed vertebrae does occur. We believe that prompt management cannot be accomplished, unless the nature of these bony malformations is clarified.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-94
PMCID: PMC1712336  PMID: 17147792
22.  Testing the proficiency to distinguish locations with elevated plantar pressure within and between professional groups of foot therapists 
Background
Identification of locations with elevated plantar pressures is important in daily foot care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, metatarsalgia and diabetes. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the proficiency of podiatrists, pedorthists and orthotists, to distinguish locations with elevated plantar pressure in patients with metatarsalgia.
Methods
Ten podiatrists, ten pedorthists and ten orthotists working in The Netherlands were asked to identify locations with excessively high plantar pressure in three patients with forefoot complaints. Therapists were instructed to examine the patients according to the methods used in their everyday clinical practice. Regions could be marked through hatching an illustration of a plantar aspect. A pressure sensitive platform was used to quantify the dynamic bare foot plantar pressures and was considered as 'Gold Standard' (GS). A pressure higher than 700 kPa was used as cut-off criterion for categorizing peak pressure into elevated or non-elevated pressure. This was done for both patient's feet and six separate forefoot regions: big toe and metatarsal one to five. Data were analysed by a mixed-model ANOVA and Generalizability Theory.
Results
The proportions elevated/non-elevated pressure regions, based on clinical ratings of the therapists, show important discrepancies with the criterion values obtained through quantitative plantar pressure measurement. In general, plantar pressures in the big toe region were underrated and those in the metatarsal regions were overrated. The estimated method agreement on clinical judgement of plantar pressures with the GS was below an acceptable level: i.e. all intraclass correlation coefficient's equal or smaller than .60. The inter-observer agreement for each discipline demonstrated worrisome results: all below .18. The estimated mutual agreements showed that there was virtually no mutual agreement between the professional groups studied.
Conclusion
Identification of elevated plantar pressure through clinical evaluation is difficult, insufficient and may be potentially harmful. The process of clinical plantar pressure screening has to be re-evaluated. The results of this study point towards the merit of quantitative plantar pressure measurement for clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-93
PMCID: PMC1698918  PMID: 17140435
23.  Increased endothelin-1 and diminished nitric oxide levels in blister fluids of patients with intermediate cold type complex regional pain syndrome type 1 
Background
In complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (CRPS1) pro-inflammatory mediators and vascular changes play an important role in the sustained development and outcome of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine the involvement of vasoactive substances endothelin-1 (ET-1) and nitric oxide (NO) during early chronic CRPS1.
Methods
Included were 29 patients with CRPS 1 who were diagnosed during the acute stage of their disease and observed during follow-up visits. Disease activity and impairment were determined and artificial suction blisters were made on the CRPS1 and the contralateral extremities for measurements of IL-6, TNF-α, ET-1 and nitrate/nitrite (NOx).
Results
The levels of IL-6, TNF-α and ET-1 in blister fluid in the CRPS1 extremity versus the contralateral extremity were significantly increased and correlated with each other, whereas NOx levels were decreased.
Conclusion
The NOx/ET-1 ratio appears to be disturbed in the intermediate stage of CRPS, resulting in vasoconstriction and consequently in a diminished tissue blood distribution.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-91
PMCID: PMC1693561  PMID: 17137491
24.  Can a disease-specific education program augment self-management skills and improve Health-Related Quality of Life in people with hip or knee osteoarthritis? 
Background
Patient education and self-management programs are offered in many countries to people with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis (OA). The most well-known is the disease-specific Stanford Arthritis Self-Management Program (ASMP). While Australian and international clinical guidelines promote the concept of self-management for OA, there is currently little evidence to support the use of the ASMP. Several meta-analyses have reported that arthritis self-management programs had minimal or no effect on reducing pain and disability. However, previous studies have had methodological shortcomings including the use of outcome measures which do not accurately reflect program goals. Additionally, limited cost-effectiveness analyses have been undertaken and the cost-utility of the program has not been explored.
Methods/design
This study is a randomised controlled trial to determine the efficacy (in terms of Health-Related Quality of Life and self-management skills) and cost-utility of a 6-week group-based Stanford ASMP for people with hip or knee OA.
Six hundred participants referred to an orthopaedic surgeon or rheumatologist for hip or knee OA will be recruited from outpatient clinics at 2 public hospitals and community-based private practices within 2 private hospital settings in Victoria, Australia. Participants must be 18 years or over, fluent in English and able to attend ASMP sessions. Exclusion criteria include cognitive dysfunction, previous participation in self-management programs and placement on a waiting list for joint replacement surgery or scheduled joint replacement.
Eligible, consenting participants will be randomised to an intervention group (who receive the ASMP and an arthritis self-management book) or a control group (who receive the book only). Follow-up will be at 6 weeks, 3 months and 12 months using standardised self-report measures. The primary outcome is Health-Related Quality of Life at 12 months, measured using the Assessment of Quality of Life instrument. Secondary outcome measures include the Health Education Impact Questionnaire, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (pain subscale and total scores), Kessler Psychological Distress Scale and the Hip and Knee Multi-Attribute Priority Tool. Cost-utility analyses will be undertaken using administrative records and self-report data. A subgroup of 100 participants will undergo qualitative interviews to explore the broader potential impacts of the ASMP.
Discussion
Using an innovative design combining both quantitative and qualitative components, this project will provide high quality data to facilitate evidence-based recommendations regarding the ASMP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-90
PMCID: PMC1693560  PMID: 17134516
25.  Low-frequency vibratory exercise reduces the risk of bone fracture more than walking: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a new type of exercise that has been increasingly tested for the ability to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis in frail people. There are two currently marketed vibrating plates: a) the whole plate oscillates up and down; b) reciprocating vertical displacements on the left and right side of a fulcrum, increasing the lateral accelerations. A few studies have shown recently the effectiveness of the up-and-down plate for increasing Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and balance; but the effectiveness of the reciprocating plate technique remains mainly unknown. The aim was to compare the effects of WBV using a reciprocating platform at frequencies lower than 20 Hz and a walking-based exercise programme on BMD and balance in post-menopausal women.
Methods
Twenty-eight physically untrained post-menopausal women were assigned at random to a WBV group or a Walking group. Both experimental programmes consisted of 3 sessions per week for 8 months. Each vibratory session included 6 bouts of 1 min (12.6 Hz in frequency and 3 cm in amplitude with 60° of knee flexion) with 1 min rest between bouts. Each walking session was 55 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of stretching. Hip and lumbar BMD (g·cm-2) were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and balance was assessed by the blind flamingo test. ANOVA for repeated measurements was adjusted by baseline data, weight and age.
Results
After 8 months, BMD at the femoral neck in the WBV group was increased by 4.3% (P = 0.011) compared to the Walking group. In contrast, the BMD at the lumbar spine was unaltered in both groups. Balance was improved in the WBV group (29%) but not in the Walking group.
Conclusion
The 8-month course of vibratory exercise using a reciprocating plate is feasible and is more effective than walking to improve two major determinants of bone fractures: hip BMD and balance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-92
PMCID: PMC1693558  PMID: 17137514

Results 1-25 (103)