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1.  Work-related musculoskeletal disorders : A survey of physical therapists in Izmir-Turkey 
Background
This study was planned to collect data about causes, prevalence and responses to work-related musculoskeletal disorders reported by physiotherapists employed in Izmir, Turkey.
Method
A two-page survey with closed ended questions was used as the data collected method. This survey was distributed to 205 physiotherapists working in Izmir, Turkey, and 120 physiotherapists answered. Questions included occupational history of physiotherapists and musculoskeletal symptoms, special areas, tasks, job-related risk factors, injury prevention strategies, and responses to injury.
Results
Eighty-five percent of the physiotherapists have had a musculoskeletal injury once or more in their lifetime. Injuries have been occurred mostly in low back (26 %), hand-wrist (18 %), shoulders (14 %) and neck (12 %). The highest risk factor in causing the injury was transferring the patient at 15%. Sixty-nine percent of physiotherapists visited a physician for their injury and sixty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that they had not limited their patient contact time as a result to their injury
Conclusions
According to the results of this study, the rate of musculoskeletal disorders in physiotherapists in Izmir-Turkey has been found to be high due to their profession. Respondents felt that a change in work habits was required in order to decrease the risk of another injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-27
PMCID: PMC516038  PMID: 15315712
2.  Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in dentists 
Background
The prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints in dentists is high although relatively few studies had focus in this profession. The aim of this study was to investigate the relations between physical, psychosocial, and individual characteristics and different endpoints of musculoskeletal complaints of low back, neck, shoulders and hand/wrist.
Methods
A questionnaire survey was carried out among 430 dentists (response 88%) in Thessaloniki, Greece. Questions include data on physical and psychosocial workload, need for recovery, perceived general health and (i) the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in the past 12 months, (ii) chronic complaints during at least 1 month, complaints which led to (iii) sickness absence, and (iv) medical care seeking. In logistic regression analysis odds ratios were estimated for all relevant risk factors.
Results
62% of dentists reported at least one musculoskeletal complaint, 30% chronic complaints, 16% had spells of absence and, 32% sought medical care. Self-reported factors of physical load were associated with the occurrence of back pain (OR = 1.59), shoulder pain (OR = 2.57) and, hand/wrist pain (OR = 3.46). With the exception of hand/wrist complaints, the physical factors were not associated with chronic complaints and musculoskeletal sickness absence. Physical load showed a trend with the number of musculoskeletal complaints with ORs of 2.50, 3.07 and 4.40 for two, three and four musculoskeletal complaints, respectively. No consistent influence of psychosocial factors on complaints, chronicity, sickness absence and medical care seeking was observed. A perceived moderate general health was a significant factor for chronic complaints, comorbidity and medical care seeking where high perceived exertion was significant for absenteeism. Living alone was also related with increased absenteeism due to shoulder pain (OR = 5.01) and hand/wrist (OR = 4.07).
Conclusions
The physical load among dentists seems to put them at risk for the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders. More than one and severe complaints are related to perceived general health while high perceived exertion and social characteristics are associated with sickness absence. Chronic symptoms seem to determine medical care seeking. Ergonomic interventions may have a greater impact in prevention of hand/wrist complaints. When investigating the influence of work-related risk factors on musculoskeletal health, psychosocial and other personal characteristics should be taken into account.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-16
PMCID: PMC441388  PMID: 15189564
3.  Prediction of chronic disability in work-related musculoskeletal disorders: a prospective, population-based study 
Background
Disability associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders is an increasingly serious societal problem. Although most injured workers return quickly to work, a substantial number do not. The costs of chronic disability to the injured worker, his or her family, employers, and society are enormous. A means of accurate early identification of injured workers at risk for chronic disability could enable these individuals to be targeted for early intervention to promote return to work and normal functioning. The purpose of this study is to develop statistical models that accurately predict chronic work disability from data obtained from administrative databases and worker interviews soon after a work injury. Based on these models, we will develop a brief instrument that could be administered in medical or workers' compensation settings to screen injured workers for chronic disability risk.
Methods
This is a population-based, prospective study. The study population consists of workers who file claims for work-related back injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries claims database is reviewed weekly to identify workers with new claims for work-related back injuries and CTS, and these workers are telephoned and invited to participate. Workers who enroll complete a computer-assisted telephone interview at baseline and one year later. The baseline interview assesses sociodemographic, employment-related, biomedical/health care, legal, and psychosocial risk factors. The follow-up interview assesses pain, disability, and work status. The primary outcome is duration of work disability over the year after claim submission, as assessed by administrative data. Secondary outcomes include work disability status at one year, as assessed by both self-report and work disability compensation status (administrative records). A sample size of 1,800 workers with back injuries and 1,200 with CTS will provide adequate statistical power (0.96 for low back and 0.85 for CTS) to predict disability with an alpha of .05 (two-sided) and a hazard ratio of 1.2. Proportional hazards regression models will be constructed to determine the best combination of predictors of work disability duration at one year. Regression models will also be developed for the secondary outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-14
PMCID: PMC428578  PMID: 15157280
4.  Age-related changes in Serum Growth Hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Somatostatin in System Lupus Erythematosus 
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an age- and gender-associated autoimmune disorder. Previous studies suggested that defects in the hypothalamic/pituitary axis contributed to systemic lupus erythematosus disease progression which could also involve growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin function. This study was designed to compare basal serum growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin levels in female systemic lupus erythematosus patients to a group of normal female subjects.
Methods
Basal serum growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin levels were measured by standard radioimmunoassay.
Results
Serum growth hormone levels failed to correlate with age (r2 = 3.03) in the entire group of normal subjects (i.e. 20 – 80 years). In contrast, serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels were inversely correlated with age (adjusted r2 = 0.092). Of note, serum growth hormone was positively correlated with age (adjusted r2 = 0.269) in the 20 – 46 year range which overlapped with the age range of patients in the systemic lupus erythematosus group. In that regard, serum growth hormone levels were not significantly higher compared to either the entire group of normal subjects (20 – 80 yrs) or to normal subjects age-matched to the systemic lupus erythematosus patients. Serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels were significantly elevated (p < 0.001) in systemic lupus erythematosus patients, but only when compared to the entire group of normal subjects. Serum somatostatin levels differed from normal subjects only in older (i.e. >55 yrs) systemic lupus erythematosus patients.
Conclusions
These results indicated that systemic lupus erythematosus was not characterized by a modulation of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 paracrine axis when serum samples from systemic lupus erythematosus patients were compared to age- matched normal female subjects. These results in systemic lupus erythematosus differ from those previously reported in other musculoskeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and hypermobility syndrome where significantly higher serum growth hormone levels were found. Somatostatin levels in elderly systemic lupus erythematosus patients may provide a clinical marker of disease activity in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-37
PMCID: PMC529450  PMID: 15496230
5.  Neuromusculoskeletal disorders in the neck and upper extremities among drivers of all-terrain vehicles – a case series 
Background
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether professional drivers of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) with neck pain have a different array of neuromusculoskeletal disorders in the neck and upper extremities than a referent group with neck pain from the general population. It is hypothesized that exposure to shock-type vibration and unfavorable working postures in ATVs have the capacity to cause peripheral nervous lesions.
Methods
This study was based on a case series analyzed according to a case-case comparison design. The study population consisted of 60 male subjects, including professional drivers of forest machines (n = 15), snowmobiles (n = 15), snowgroomers (n = 15) and referents from the general population (n = 15) all of whom had reported neck pain in a questionnaire and underwent an extensive physical examination of the neck and upper extremities. Based on symptom history, symptoms and signs, and in some cases chemical, electroneurographical and radiological findings, subjects were classified as having a nociceptive or neuropathic disorder or a mix of these types.
Results
The occurrence of asymmetrical and focal neuropathies (peripheral nervous lesion), pure or in a mix with a nociceptive disorder was common among cases in the ATV driver groups (47%–79%). This contrasted with the referents that were less often classified as having asymmetrical and focal neuropathy (27%), but instead had more nociceptive disorders. The difference was most pronounced among drivers of snowgroomers, while drivers of forest machines were more frequently classified as having a nociceptive disorder originating in the muscles.
Conclusion
This study found a high prevalence of assymetrical and focal neuropathies among drivers with pain in the neck, operating various ATVs. It seems as if exposure to shock-type whole-body vibration (WBV) and appurtenant unfavorable postures in ATVs may be associated to peripheral nervous lesions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-1
PMCID: PMC324409  PMID: 14718063
6.  Sick leave among home-care personnel: a longitudinal study of risk factors 
Background
Sick leave due to neck, shoulder and back disorders (NSBD) is higher among health-care workers, especially nursing aides/assistant nurses, compared with employees in other occupations. More information is needed about predictors of sick leave among health care workers. The aim of the study was to assess whether self-reported factors related to health, work and leisure time could predict: 1) future certified sick leave due to any cause, in nursing aides/assistant nurses (Study group I) and 2) future self-reported sick leave due to NSBD in nursing aides/assistant nurses (Study group II).
Methods
Study group I, comprised 443 female nursing aides/assistant nurses, not on sick leave at baseline when a questionnaire was completed. Data on certified sick leave were collected after 18 months. Study group II comprised 274 of the women, who at baseline reported no sick leave during the preceding year due to NSBD and who participated at the 18 month follow-up. Data on sick leave due to NSBD were collected from the questionnaire at 18 months. The associations between future sick leave and factors related to health, work and leisure time were tested by logistic regression analyses.
Results
Health-related factors such as previous low back disorders (OR: 1.89; 95% CI 1.20–2.97) and previous sick leave (OR 6.40; 95%CI 3.97–10.31), were associated with a higher risk of future sick leave due to any cause. Factors related to health, work and leisure time, i.e. previous low back disorders (OR: 4.45; 95% CI 1.27–15.77) previous sick leave, not due to NSBD (OR 3.30; 95%CI 1.33–8.17), high strain work (OR 2.34; 95%CI 1.05–5.23) and high perceived physical exertion in domestic work (OR 2.56; 95%CI 1.12–5.86) were associated with a higher risk of future sick leave due to NSBD. In the final analyses, previous low back disorders and previous sick leave remained significant in both study groups.
Conclusion
The results suggest a focus on previous low back disorders and previous sick leave for the design of early prevention programmes aiming at reducing future sick leave due to any cause, as well as due to NSBD, among nursing aides/assistant nurses. A multifactorial approach may be of importance in the early prevention of sick leave due to NSBD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-38
PMCID: PMC539270  PMID: 15533255
7.  Upper limb neuropathy in computer operators? A clinical case study of 21 patients 
Background
The character of upper limb disorder in computer operators remains obscure and their treatment and prevention have had limited success. Symptoms tend to be mostly perceived as relating to pathology in muscles, tendons or insertions. However, the conception of a neuropathic disorder would be supported by objective findings reflecting the common complaints of pain, subjective weakness, and numbness/tingling. By examining characteristics in terms of symptoms, signs, and course, this study aimed at forming a hypothesis concerning the nature and consequences of the disorder.
Methods
I have studied a consecutive series of 21 heavily exposed and severely handicapped computer-aided designers. Their history was recorded and questionnaire information was collected, encompassing their status 1/2 – 1 1/2 years after the initial clinical contact. The physical examination included an assessment of the following items: Isometric strength in ten upper limb muscles; sensibility in five homonymously innervated territories; and the presence of abnormal tenderness along nerve trunks at 14 locations.
Results
Rather uniform physical findings in all patients suggested a brachial plexus neuropathy combined with median and posterior interosseous neuropathy at elbow level. In spite of reduced symptoms at follow-up, the prognosis was serious in terms of work-status and persisting pain.
Conclusions
This small-scale study of a clinical case series suggests the association of symptoms to focal neuropathy with specific locations. The inclusion of a detailed neurological examination would appear to be advantageous with upper limb symptoms in computer operators.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-26
PMCID: PMC516037  PMID: 15310393
8.  The Knee Clinical Assessment Study – CAS(K). A prospective study of knee pain and knee osteoarthritis in the general population 
Background
Knee pain affects an estimated 25% of the adult population aged 50 years and over. Osteoarthritis is the most common diagnosis made in older adults consulting with knee pain in primary care. However, the relationship between this diagnosis and both the current disease-based definition of osteoarthritis and the regional pain syndrome of knee pain and disability is unclear. Expert consensus, based on current evidence, views the disease and the syndrome as distinct entities but the clinical usefulness of these two approaches to classifying knee pain in older adults has not been established. We plan to conduct a prospective, population-based, observational cohort study to investigate the relative merits of disease-based and regional pain syndrome-based approaches to classification and prognosis of knee pain in older adults.
Methods
All patients aged 50 years and over registered with three general practices in North Staffordshire will be invited to take part in a two-stage postal survey. Respondents to this survey phase who indicate that they have experienced knee pain within the previous 12 months will be invited to attend a research clinic for a detailed assessment. This will consist of clinical interview, physical examination, digital photography, plain x-rays, anthropometric measurement and a brief self-complete questionnaire. All consenting clinic attenders will be followed up by (i) general practice medical record review, (ii) repeat postal questionnaire at 18-months.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-4
PMCID: PMC368438  PMID: 15028109
9.  Shoulder posture and median nerve sliding 
Background
Patients with upper limb pain often have a slumped sitting position and poor shoulder posture. Pain could be due to poor posture causing mechanical changes (stretch; local pressure) that in turn affect the function of major limb nerves (e.g. median nerve). This study examines (1) whether the individual components of slumped sitting (forward head position, trunk flexion and shoulder protraction) cause median nerve stretch and (2) whether shoulder protraction restricts normal nerve movements.
Methods
Longitudinal nerve movement was measured using frame-by-frame cross-correlation analysis from high frequency ultrasound images during individual components of slumped sitting. The effects of protraction on nerve movement through the shoulder region were investigated by examining nerve movement in the arm in response to contralateral neck side flexion.
Results
Neither moving the head forward or trunk flexion caused significant movement of the median nerve. In contrast, 4.3 mm of movement, adding 0.7% strain, occurred in the forearm during shoulder protraction. A delay in movement at the start of protraction and straightening of the nerve trunk provided evidence of unloading with the shoulder flexed and elbow extended and the scapulothoracic joint in neutral. There was a 60% reduction in nerve movement in the arm during contralateral neck side flexion when the shoulder was protracted compared to scapulothoracic neutral.
Conclusion
Slumped sitting is unlikely to increase nerve strain sufficient to cause changes to nerve function. However, shoulder protraction may place the median nerve at risk of injury, since nerve movement is reduced through the shoulder region when the shoulder is protracted and other joints are moved. Both altered nerve dynamics in response to moving other joints and local changes to blood supply may adversely affect nerve function and increase the risk of developing upper quadrant pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-23
PMCID: PMC503391  PMID: 15282032
10.  Enhanced Dupuytren's disease fibroblast populated collagen lattice contraction is independent of endogenous active TGF-β2 
Background
Dupuytren's disease (DD) is a debilitating fibro-proliferative disorder of the hand characterized by the appearance of fibrotic lesions (nodules and cords) leading to flexion contractures of the fingers and loss of hand function. Although the molecular mechanism of DD is unknown, it has been suggested that transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) may play an important role in the underlying patho-physiology of the disease. The purpose of this study was to further explore this hypothesis by examining the effects of TGF-β2 on primary cell cultures derived from patient-matched disease and normal palmar fascia tissue using a three-dimensional collagen contraction assay.
Methods
Fibroblast-populated collagen lattice (FPCL) contraction assays using primary cell cultures derived from diseased and control fascia of the same DD patients were studied in response to exogenous TGF-β2 and neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies.
Results
Contraction of the FPCLs occurred significantly faster and to a greater extent in disease cells compared to control cells. The addition of TGF-β2 enhanced the rate and degree of collagen contraction in a dose-dependent fashion for both control and diseased cells. Neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies abolished exogenous TGF-β2 stimulated collagen contraction, but did not inhibit the enhanced basal collagen contraction activity of disease FPCL cultures.
Conclusions
Although exogenous TGF-β2 stimulated both disease and control FPCL contraction, neutralizing anti-TGF-β2 antibodies did not affect the elevated basal collagen contraction activity of disease FPCLs, suggesting that the differences in the collagen contraction activity of control and disease FPCL cultures are not due to differences in the levels of endogenous TGF-β2 activity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-41
PMCID: PMC534110  PMID: 15541177
11.  Conservative treatment in patients with an acute lumbosacral radicular syndrome: design of a randomised clinical trial [ISRCTN68857256] 
Background
The objective is to present the design of randomised clinical trial (RCT) on the effectiveness of physical therapy added to general practitioners management compared to general practitioners management only in patients with an acute lumbosacral radicular syndrome (also called sciatica).
Methods/Design
Patients in general practice diagnosed with an acute (less than 6 weeks) lumbosacral radicular syndrome and an age above 18 years are eligible for participation. The general practitioners treatment follows their clinical guideline. The physical therapy treatment will consist of patient education and exercise therapy. The primary outcome measure is patients reported global perceived effect. Secondary outcome measures are severity of complaints, functional status, health status, fear of movement, medical consumption, sickness absence, costs and treatment preference. The follow-up is 52 weeks.
Discussion
Treatment by general practitioners and physical therapists in this study will be transparent and not a complete "black box". The results of this trial will contribute to the decision of the general practitioner regarding referral to physical therapy in patients with an acute lumbosacral radicular syndrome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-39
PMCID: PMC534096  PMID: 15535882
12.  Topical NSAIDs for chronic musculoskeletal pain: systematic review and meta-analysis 
A previous systematic review reported that topical NSAIDs were effective in relieving pain in chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and tendinitis. More trials, a better understanding of trial quality and bias, and a reclassification of certain drugs necessitate a new review.
Studies were identified by searching electronic databases, and writing to manufacturers. We identified randomised, double blind trials comparing topical NSAID with either placebo or another active treatment, in adults with chronic pain. The primary outcome was a reduction in pain of approximately 50% at two weeks, and secondary outcomes were local and systemic adverse events and adverse event-related withdrawals. Relative benefit and number-needed-to-treat (NNT), and relative harm and number-needed-to-harm (NNH) were calculated, and the effects of trial quality, validity and size, outcome reported, and condition treated, were examined by sensitivity analyses.
Twelve new trials were added to 13 trials from a previous review. Fourteen double blind placebo-controlled trials had information from almost 1,500 patients. Topical NSAID was significantly better than placebo with relative benefit 1.9 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 2.2), NNT 4.6 (95% confidence interval 3.8 to 5.9). Results were not affected by trial quality, validity or size, outcome reported, or condition treated. Three trials with 764 patients comparing a topical with an oral NSAID found no difference in efficacy. Local adverse events (6%), systemic adverse events (3%), or the numbers withdrawing due to an adverse event were the same for topical NSAID and placebo.
Topical NSAIDs were effective and safe in treating chronic musculoskeletal conditions for two weeks. Larger and longer trials are necessary to fully elucidate the place of topical NSAIDs in clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-28
PMCID: PMC516039  PMID: 15317652
13.  An investigation into the validity of cervical spine motion palpation using subjects with congenital block vertebrae as a 'gold standard' 
Background
Although the effectiveness of manipulative therapy for treating back and neck pain has been demonstrated, the validity of many of the procedures used to detect joint dysfunction has not been confirmed. Practitioners of manual medicine frequently employ motion palpation as a diagnostic tool, despite conflicting evidence regarding its utility and reliability. The introduction of various spinal models with artificially introduced 'fixations' as an attempt to introduce a 'gold standard' has met with frustration and frequent mechanical failure. Because direct comparison against a 'gold standard' allows the validity, specificity and sensitivity of a test to be calculated, the identification of a realistic 'gold standard' against which motion palpation can be evaluated is essential. The objective of this study was to introduce a new, realistic, 'gold standard', the congenital block vertebra (CBV) to assess the validity of motion palpation in detecting a true fixation.
Methods
Twenty fourth year chiropractic students examined the cervical spines of three subjects with single level congenital block vertebrae, using two commonly employed motion palpation tests. The examiners, who were blinded to the presence of congenital block vertebrae, were asked to identify the most hypomobile segment(s). The congenital block segments included two subjects with fusion at the C2–3 level and one with fusion at C5-6. Exclusion criteria included subjects who were frankly symptomatic, had moderate or severe degenerative changes in their cervical spines, or displayed signs of cervical instability. Spinal levels were marked on the subject's skin overlying the facet joints from C1 to C7 bilaterally and the motion segments were then marked alphabetically with 'A' corresponding to C1-2.
Kappa coefficients (K) were calculated to determine the validity of motion palpation to detect the congenitally fused segments as the 'most hypomobile' segments. Sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic procedure were also calculated.
Results
Kappa coefficients (K) showed substantial overall agreement for identification of the segment of greatest hypomobility (K = 0.65), with substantial (K = 0.76) and moderate (K = 0.46) agreement for hypomobility at C2-3 and C5-6 respectively. Sensitivity ranged from 55% at the C5-6 CBV to 78% at the C2-3 level. Specificity of the procedure was high (91 – 98%).
Conclusion
This study indicates that relatively inexperienced examiners are capable of correctly identifying inter-segmental fixations (CBV) in the cervical spine using 2 commonly employed motion palpation tests. The use of a 'gold standard' (CBV) in this study and the substantial agreement achieved lends support to the validity of motion palpation in detecting major spinal fixations in the cervical spine.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-19
PMCID: PMC441389  PMID: 15198806
14.  Prevalence of facet joint pain in chronic spinal pain of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions 
Background
Facet joints are a clinically important source of chronic cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain. The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate the prevalence of facet joint pain by spinal region in patients with chronic spine pain referred to an interventional pain management practice.
Methods
Five hundred consecutive patients with chronic, non-specific spine pain were evaluated. The prevalence of facet joint pain was determined using controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks (1% lidocaine or 1% lidocaine followed by 0.25% bupivacaine), in accordance with the criteria established by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). The study was performed in the United States in a non-university based ambulatory interventional pain management setting.
Results
The prevalence of facet joint pain in patients with chronic cervical spine pain was 55% 5(95% CI, 49% – 61%), with thoracic spine pain was 42% (95% CI, 30% – 53%), and in with lumbar spine pain was 31% (95% CI, 27% – 36%). The false-positive rate with single blocks with lidocaine was 63% (95% CI, 54% – 72%) in the cervical spine, 55% (95% CI, 39% – 78%) in the thoracic spine, and 27% (95% CI, 22% – 32%) in the lumbar spine.
Conclusion
This study demonstrated that in an interventional pain management setting, facet joints are clinically important spinal pain generators in a significant proportion of patients with chronic spinal pain. Because these patients typically have failed conservative management, including physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and analgesics, they may benefit from specific interventions designed to manage facet joint pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-15
PMCID: PMC441387  PMID: 15169547
15.  Use of botulinum toxin-A for musculoskeletal pain in patients with whiplash associated disorders [ISRCTN68653575] 
Background
Whiplash associated disorder is commonly linked to motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. Cervical injury is attributed to rapid extension followed by neck flexion. The exact pathophysiology of whiplash is uncertain but probably involves some degree of aberrant muscle spasms and may produce a wide range of symptoms. The most commonly prescribed pharmacological agents for initial treatment of whiplash-associated pain are oral muscle relaxants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, potential systemic adverse effects limit these agents. Physical interventions such as mobilization, manipulation, and exercises have proved beneficial for pain and dysfunction but only on a time-limited basis. Little evidence suggests that physical therapy specifically aimed at the musculature (e.g., transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasonography, heat, ice, and acupuncture) improves prognosis in acute whiplash associated disorder. A new approach to treatment is the use of botulinum toxin, which acts to reduce muscle spasms.
Methods/design
This is a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial and botulinum toxin-A (Botox®) injections will be compared with placebo injections. The primary objective is to determine the efficacy of Botox® in the management of musculoskeletal pain in whiplash associated disorders.
Discussion
Botulinum toxin type-A toxin has been studied in small trials on whiplash associated disorder patients and has generally been found to relieve pain and improve range of motion. Specifically, we seek to assess the efficacy of Botox® in reducing pain and to improve the cervical spine range of movement, during the 6-month trial period.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-5
PMCID: PMC356919  PMID: 15018625
16.  Psychometric properties of a Swedish translation of the VISA-P outcome score for patellar tendinopathy 
Background
Self-administrated patient outcome scores are increasingly recommended for evaluation of primary outcome in clinical studies. The VISA-P score, developed at the Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment in Melbourne, Australia, is a questionnaire developed for patients with patellar tendinopathy and the patients assess severity of symptoms, function and ability to participate in sport. The aim of this study was to translate the questionnaire into Swedish and to study the reliability and validity of the translated questionnaire and resultant scores.
Methods
The questionnaire was translated into Swedish according to internationally recommended guidelines for cross-cultural adaptation of self-report measures. The reliability and validity were tested in three different populations. The populations used were healthy students (n = 17), members of the Swedish male national basketball team (n = 17), considered as a population at risk, and a group of non-surgically treated patients (n = 17) with clinically diagnosed patellar tendinopathy. The questionnaire was completed by 51 subjects altogether.
Results
The translated VISA-P questionnaire showed very good test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.97).
The mean (± SD) of the VISA-P score, at both the first and second test occasions was highest in the healthy student group 83 (± 13) and 81 (± 15), respectively. The score of the basketball players was 79 (± 24) and 80 (± 23), while the patient group scored significantly (p < 0.05) lower, 48 (± 20) and 52 (± 19).
Conclusions
The translated version of the VISA-P questionnaire was linguistically and culturally equivalent to the original version. The translated score showed good reliability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-49
PMCID: PMC545958  PMID: 15606923
17.  Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormones and cortisol in both menstrual phases of women with chronic fatigue syndrome and effect of depressive mood on these hormones 
Background
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease which defined as medically unexplained, disabling fatigue of 6 months or more duration and often accompanied by several of a long list of physical complaints. We aimed to investigate abnormalities of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis hormones and cortisol concentrations in premenopausal women with CFS and find out effects of depression rate on these hormones.
Methods
We examined follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, progesterone and cortisol concentrations in 43 premenopausal women (mean age: 32.86 ± 7.11) with CFS and compared matched 35 healthy controls (mean age: 31.14 ± 6.19). Patients were divided according to menstrual cycle phases (follicular and luteal) and compared with matched phase controls. Depression rate was assessed by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and patients with high BDI scores were compared to patients with low BDI scores.
Results
There were no significant differences in FSH, LH, estradiol and progesterone levels in both of menstrual phases of patients versus controls. Cortisol levels were significantly lower in patients compared to controls. There were no significant differences in all hormone levels in patients with high depression scores versus patients with low depression scores.
Conclusion
In spite of high depression rate, low cortisol concentration and normal HPG axis hormones of both menstrual phases are detected in premenopausal women with CFS. There is no differentiation between patients with high and low depression rate in all hormone levels. Depression condition of CFS may be different from classical depression and evaluation of HPG and HPA axis should be performed for understanding of pathophysiology of CFS and planning of treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-47
PMCID: PMC539265  PMID: 15588275
18.  Cerebrospinal fluid levels of opioid peptides in fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain 
Background
The mechanism(s) of nociceptive dysfunction and potential roles of opioid neurotransmitters are unresolved in the chronic pain syndromes of fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain.
Methods
History and physical examinations, tender point examinations, and questionnaires were used to identify 14 fibromyalgia, 10 chronic low back pain and 6 normal control subjects. Lumbar punctures were performed. Met-enkephalin-Arg6-Phe7 (MEAP) and nociceptin immunoreactive materials were measured in the cerebrospinal fluid by radioimmunoassays.
Results
Fibromyalgia (117.6 pg/ml; 85.9 to 149.4; mean, 95% C.I.; p = 0.009) and low back pain (92.3 pg/ml; 56.9 to 127.7; p = 0.049) groups had significantly higher MEAP than the normal control group (35.7 pg/ml; 15.0 to 56.5). MEAP was inversely correlated to systemic pain thresholds. Nociceptin was not different between groups. Systemic Complaints questionnaire responses were significantly ranked as fibromyalgia > back pain > normal. SF-36 domains demonstrated severe disability for the low back pain group, intermediate results in fibromyalgia, and high function in the normal group.
Conclusions
Fibromyalgia was distinguished by higher cerebrospinal fluid MEAP, systemic complaints, and manual tender points; intermediate SF-36 scores; and lower pain thresholds compared to the low back pain and normal groups. MEAP and systemic pain thresholds were inversely correlated in low back pain subjects. Central nervous system opioid dysfunction may contribute to pain in fibromyalgia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-48
PMCID: PMC539267  PMID: 15588296
19.  Nodular osteochondrogenic activity in soft tissue surrounding osteoma in neurogenic para osteo-arthropathy: morphological and immunohistochemical study 
Background
Neurogenic Para-Osteo-Arthropathy (NPOA) occurs as a consequence of central nervous system injuries or some systemic conditions. They are characterized by bone formation around the main joints.
Methods
In order to define some biological features of NPOAs, histological and immunohistological studies of the soft tissue surrounding osteoma and Ultrasound examination (US) of NPOA before the appearance of abnormal ossification on plain radiographs were performed.
Results
We have observed a great number of ossifying areas scattered in soft tissues. US examination have also shown scattered ossifying areas at the early stage of ossification. A high osteogenic activity was detected in these tissues and all the stages of the endochondral process were observed. Mesenchymal cells undergo chondrocytic differentiation to further terminal maturation with hypertrophy, which sustains mineralization followed by endochondral ossification process.
Conclusion
We suggest that periosteoma soft tissue reflect early stage of osteoma formation and could be a model to study the mechanism of osteoma formation and we propose a mechanism of the NPOA formation in which sympathetic dystony and altered mechanical loading induce changes which could be responsible for the cascade of cellular events leading to cartilage and bone formation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-46
PMCID: PMC543471  PMID: 15563732
20.  Cost-effectiveness of an intensive group training protocol compared to physiotherapy guideline care for sub-acute and chronic low back pain: design of a randomised controlled trial with an economic evaluation. [ISRCTN45641649] 
Background
Low back pain is a common disorder in western industrialised countries and the type of treatments for low back pain vary considerably.
Methods
In a randomised controlled trial the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of an intensive group training protocol versus physiotherapy guideline care for sub-acute and chronic low back pain patients is evaluated. Patients with back pain for longer than 6 weeks who are referred to physiotherapy care by their general practitioner or medical specialist are included in the study. The intensive group training protocol combines exercise therapy with principles of behavioural therapy ("graded activity") and back school. This training protocol is compared to physiotherapy care according to the recently published Low Back Pain Guidelines of the Royal Dutch College for Physiotherapy. Primary outcome measures are general improvement, pain intensity, functional status, work absenteeism and quality of life. The direct and indirect costs will be assessed using cost diaries. Patients will complete questionnaires at baseline and 6, 13, 26 and 52 weeks after randomisation.
Discussion
No trials are yet available that have evaluated the effect of an intensive group training protocol including behavioural principles and back school in a primary physiotherapy care setting and no data on cost-effectiveness and cost-utility are available.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-45
PMCID: PMC535932  PMID: 15560843
21.  The effect of short-duration sub-maximal cycling on balance in single-limb stance in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury: a cross-sectional study 
Background
It has previously been shown that an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury may lead to impaired postural control, and that the ability to maintain postural control is decreased by fatigue in healthy subjects. To our knowledge, no studies have reported the effect of fatigue on postural control in subjects with ACL injury. This study was aimed at examining the effect of fatigue on balance in single-limb stance in subjects with ACL injury, and to compare the effects, and the ability to maintain balance, with that of a control group of uninjured subjects.
Methods
Thirty-six patients with unilateral, non-operated, non-acute ACL injury, and 24 uninjured subjects were examined with stabilometry before (pre-exercise) and immediately after (post-exercise) short-duration, sub-maximal cycling. In addition, the post-exercise measurements were compared, to evaluate the instantaneous ability to maintain balance and any possible recovery. The amplitude and average speed of center of pressure movements were registered in the frontal and sagittal planes. The paired t-test was used for the intra-group comparisons, and the independent t-test for the inter-group comparisons, with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.
Results
No differences were found in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. Analysis of the post-exercise measurements revealed greater effects or a tendency towards greater effects on the injured leg than in the control group. The average speed was lower among the patients than in the control group.
Conclusions
The results of the present study showed no differences in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. However, the patients seemed to react differently regarding ability to maintain balance in single-limb stance directly after exercise than the control group. The lower average speed among the patients may be an expression of different neuromuscular adaptive strategies than in uninjured subjects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-44
PMCID: PMC544556  PMID: 15548328
22.  Zygapophysial joint blocks in chronic low back pain: a test of Revel's model as a screening test 
Background
Only controlled blocks are capable of confirming the zygapophysial joints (ZJ) as the pain generator in LBP patients. However, previous workers have found that a cluster of clinical signs ("Revel's criteria"), may be valuable in predicting the results of an initial screening ZJ block. It was suggested that these clinical findings are unsuitable for diagnosis, but may be of value in selecting patients for diagnostic blocks of the lumbar ZJ's. To constitute evidence in favour of a clinical management strategy, these results need confirmation. This study evaluates the utility of 'Revel's criteria' as a screening tool for selection of chronic low back pain patients for controlled ZJ diagnostic blocks.
Methods
This study utilized a prospective blinded concurrent reference standard related validity design. Consecutive chronic LBP patients completed pain drawings, psychosocial distress and disability questionnaires, received a clinical examination and lumbar zygapophysial blocks. Two reference standards were evaluated simultaneously: 1. 75% reduction of pain on a visual analogue scale (replication of previous work), and 2. abolition of the dominant or primary pain. Using "Revel's criteria" as predictors, logistic regression analyses were used to test the model. Estimates of sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and likelihood ratios for selected variables were calculated for the two proposed clinical strategies.
Results
Earlier results were not replicated. Sensitivity of "Revel's criteria" was low sensitivity (<17%), and specificity high (approximately 90%). Absence of pain with cough or sneeze just reached significance (p = 0.05) within one model.
Conclusions
"Revel's criteria" are unsuitable as a clinical screening test to select chronic LBP patients for initial ZJ blocks. However, the criteria may have use in identifying a small subset (11%) of patients likely to respond to the initial block (specificity 93%).
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-43
PMCID: PMC534802  PMID: 15546487
23.  Myasthenia gravis and pregnancy: clinical implications and neonatal outcome 
Background
The myasthenia gravis is twice as common in women as in men and frequently affects young women in the second and third decades of life, overlapping with the childbearing years. Generally, during pregnancy in one third of patients the disease exacerbates, whereas in two thirds it remains clinically unchanged. Complete remission can occur in some patients.
Methods
To describe the clinical course, delivery and neonatal outcome of 18 pregnant women with the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis. Retrospective chart review of pregnant patients with myasthenia gravis, followed at the National Institute of Perinatology in Mexico City over an 8-year period. Data was abstracted from the medical records on the clinical course during pregnancy, delivery and neonatal outcome.
Results
From January 1, 1996 to December 31, 2003 18 patients with myasthenia gravis were identified and included in the study. The mean ± SD maternal age was 27.4 ± 4.0 years. During pregnancy 2 women (11%) had an improvement in the clinical symptoms of myasthenia gravis, 7 women (39%) had clinical worsening of the condition of 9 other patients (50%) remained clinically unchanged. Nine patients delivered vaginally, 8 delivered by cesarean section and 1 pregnancy ended in fetal loss. Seventeen infants were born at mean ± SD gestational age of 37.5 ± 3.0 weeks and a mean birth weight of 2710 ± 73 g. Only one infant presented with transient neonatal myasthenia gravis. No congenital anomalies were identified in any of the newborns.
Conclusions
The clinical course of myasthenia gravis during pregnancy is variable, with a significant proportion of patients experiencing worsening of the clinical symptoms. However, neonatal transient myasthenia was uncommon in our patient population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-42
PMCID: PMC534111  PMID: 15546494
24.  Rationale and design of a multicenter randomized controlled trial on a 'minimal intervention' in Dutch army personnel with nonspecific low back pain [ISRCTN19334317] 
Background
Researchers from the Royal Netherlands Army are studying the potential of isolated lumbar extensor training in low back pain in their working population. Currently, a randomized controlled trial is carried out in five military health centers in The Netherlands and Germany, in which a 10-week program of not more than 2 training sessions (10–15 minutes) per week is studied in soldiers with nonspecific low back pain for more than 4 weeks. The purpose of the study is to investigate the efficacy of this 'minimal intervention program', compared to usual care. Moreover, attempts are made to identify subgroups of different responders to the intervention.
Methods
Besides a baseline measurement, follow-up data are gathered at two short-term intervals (5 and 10 weeks after randomization) and two long-term intervals (6 months and one year after the end of the intervention), respectively. At every test moment, participants fill out a compound questionnaire on a stand-alone PC, and they undergo an isometric back strength measurement on a lower back machine.
Primary outcome measures in this study are: self-assessed degree of complaints and degree of handicap in daily activities due to back pain. In addition, our secondary measurements focus on: fear of movement/(re-) injury, mental and social health perception, individual back extension strength, and satisfaction of the patient with the treatment perceived. Finally, we assess a number of potential prognostic factors: demographic and job characteristics, overall health, the degree of physical activity, and the attitudes and beliefs of the physiotherapist towards chronic low back pain.
Discussion
Although a substantial number of trials have been conducted that included lumbar extension training in low back pain patients, hardly any study has emphasized a minimal intervention approach comparable to ours. For reasons of time efficiency and patient preferences, this minimal sports medicine approach of low back pain management is interesting for the population under study, and possibly for comparable working populations with physical demanding job activities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-40
PMCID: PMC533884  PMID: 15535881
25.  A high prevalence of cumulative trauma disorders in Iranian instrumentalists 
Background
Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are common in musicians and their prevalence has been the subject of a number of studies in most western countries. Such studies are scarce in developing countries despite the possibility that CTDs may have a different prevalence in these countries, especially when considering traditional musical instruments and different methods of playing. Although not formally studied before, according to our experience the prevalence of CTDs seemed to be high among Iranian instrumentalists.
We proposed this study to determine the prevalence of CTDs in amateur music students playing one of the two traditional Iranian instruments: Daf and Setar.
Methods
In a prospective cross sectional study, we interviewed and examined the students of three music training centers in Iran. Seventy eight instrumentalists, who were playing Daf or Setar and twelve students who had not started playing yet were regarded as case and control groups respectively. Some of them also underwent electrodiagnostic studies.
Results
Forty-seven percent (17 of 36) of the Setar players and 57% (24 of 42) of the Daf players and fifty-three percent (41 of 78) of the instrumentalists as a whole had CTDs. None of them had carpal tunnel syndrome.
Conclusions
Our study revealed that the prevalence of CTDs in Iranian instrumentalists was unusually high. In addition to age, other variables may be contributory. This needs to be further studied.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-35
PMCID: PMC529268  PMID: 15485578

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