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Orthopedics. 2016 May 1;39(3):e413-6. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20160404-02. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Modifiable Risk Factors in Patients With Low Back Pain.


Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for physician visits in the United States and is a chief complaint frequently seen by orthopedic surgeons. Patients with chronic low back pain can experience recurring debilitating pain and disability, decreasing their quality of life. A commercially available software platform, Explorys (Explorys, Inc, Cleveland, Ohio), was used to mine a pooled electronic health care database consisting of the medical records of more than 26 million patients. According to the available medical history data, 1.2 million patients had a diagnosis of low back pain (4.54%). The information was used to determine the incidence of low back pain in patients with a history of nicotine dependence, obesity (body mass index, >30 kg/m(2)), depressive disorders, and alcohol abuse. Relative risk was then calculated for the defined modifiable risk factors. Patients with nicotine dependence, obesity, depressive disorders, and alcohol abuse had a relative risk of 4.489, 6.007, 5.511, and 3.326 for low back pain, respectively, compared with patients without the defined risk factor. A statistically significant difference was found in the incidence of low back pain between all 4 groups with the risk factors evaluated and the general population (P<.05). By determining treatable patient risk factors for low back pain, physicians can monitor at-risk patients and focus on prevention and control of debilitating disease. These approaches can decrease the number of patients with isolated low back pain who are seen by orthopedic surgeons. [Orthopedics. 2016; 39(3):e413-e416.].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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