Patients with low back pain who presented to chiropractors or general practitioners typically did not have complete relief from their pain after 1 year; however, only a small cohort reported severe constant pain, according to recently published study results.
Researchers conducted a prospective, observational cohort study including 1,082 patients who presented with low back pain. The patients were recruited from 106 general practitioners (GP) and 36 chiropractors.
Data including demographics, duration of current low back pain episode, number of previous episodes, low back pain intensity, leg pain intensity, activity limitation, depressive symptoms and recovery expectations were collected at baseline. Additionally, follow-up questionnaires were sent by mail at 2 weeks, 3 months and 12 months after baseline consultation. Low back pain trajectories were based on the weekly follow up sent to the patients’ cell phone with an automated short message service.
The researchers found low back pain scores seemed to improve through the first 10 weeks but then remained unchanged. After week 10, mean low back pain intensity scores were 1.6 (chiropractic cohort: 1.3; GP cohort: 2.9), and a mean 1.6 low back pain days were reported.
The researchers concluded physicians should be aware that low back pain does not simply go away, and the average course of low back pain does not reflect most patients’ trajectory. – by Robert Linnehan
Disclosures: Kongsted reports receiving a grant (Grant No. 01/1624), payment for writing or reviewing the manuscript and fellowship support from the Danish Chiropractors’ Foundation. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.