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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1998 Sep 15;23(18):2014-20.

Methodologic issues in low back pain research in primary care.

Author information

1
Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. lm.bouter.emgo@med.vu.nl

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Narrative review and discussion of the selected literature.

OBJECTIVES:

To discuss some important methodologic challenges in low back pain research in primary care.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Many methodologic problems must be confronted when conducting low back pain research. Some of these problems are back pain specific or specific to the primary care setting.

METHODS:

Methodologic problems related to four research issues will be discussed: study designs, definition of low back pain, determinants of low back pain, and outcome assessment.

RESULTS:

Two fundamentally different study designs are frequently used in low back pain research, namely observational studies and experimental studies. The definition of low back pain is typically restricted to a highly variables self-reported symptom, the sensation of pain in the back. There clearly is a need for an evidence-based classification system for low back pain. Because a tenable theoretical framework is lacking, it is difficult to know which determinants of low back pain should be quantified. Low back pain studies focus usually on health-related quality-of-life outcome parameters. The identification of the minimum clinically relevant changes for the most important outcome instruments needs further consideration.

CONCLUSIONS:

In years to come, low back pain researchers are challenged to overcome some of these (and other) problems to enhance the quality of low back pain research in primary care.

PMID:
9779536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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