Medline ® Abstracts for References 5,22,58
of 'Approach to the diagnosis and evaluation of low back pain in adults'
Sciatica: review of epidemiological studies and prevalence estimates.
Konstantinou K, Dunn KM
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008;33(22):2464.
STUDY DESIGN: Review of studies on sciatica prevalence and synthesis of available evidence.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the studies on sciatica prevalence, discuss reasons for variation in estimates, provide suggestions for improving accuracy of recording sciatica in epidemiological and outcome studies so as to enable better evaluation of natural history and treatment effect in the presence of low back pain related sciatica.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Sciatica is a common cause of pain and disability. It is more persistent and severe than low back pain, has a less favorable outcome and consumes more health resources. However, sciatica prevalence rates reported in different studies and reviews vary considerably and provide no clear picture about sciatica prevalence.
METHODS: A literature search of all English language peer reviewed publications was conducted using Medline, EMBASE, and CINAHL for the years 1980-2006. Two reviewers extracted data on sciatica prevalence and definitions from the identified articles.
RESULTS: Of the papers retrieved, 23 were included in the review. Only 2 studies out of the 23 used clinical assessment for assessing sciatic symptoms, and definitions of sciatica varied widely. Sciatica prevalence from different studies ranged from 1.2% to 43%.
CONCLUSION: Sciatica prevalence estimates vary considerably between studies. This may be due to differences in definitions, methods of data collection and perhaps populations studied. Suggestions are made on how to improve accuracy of capturing sciatica in epidemiological studies.
Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Primary Care Sciences, Keele University Staffordshire, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society.
Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, Casey D, Cross JT Jr, Shekelle P, Owens DK, Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Pain Society Low Back Pain Guidelines Panel
Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(7):478.
RECOMMENDATION 1: Clinicians should conduct a focused history and physical examination to help place patients with low back pain into 1 of 3 broad categories: nonspecific low back pain, back pain potentially associated with radiculopathy or spinal stenosis, or back pain potentially associated with another specific spinal cause. The history should include assessment of psychosocial risk factors, which predict risk for chronic disabling back pain (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 2: Clinicians should not routinely obtain imaging or other diagnostic tests in patients with nonspecific low back pain (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 3: Clinicians should perform diagnostic imaging and testing for patients with low back pain when severe or progressive neurologic deficits are present or when serious underlying conditions are suspected on the basis of history and physical examination (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 4: Clinicians should evaluate patients with persistent low back pain and signs or symptoms of radiculopathy or spinal stenosis with magnetic resonance imaging (preferred) or computed tomography only if they are potential candidates for surgery or epidural steroid injection (for suspected radiculopathy) (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 5: Clinicians should provide patients with evidence-based information on low back pain with regard to their expected course, advise patients to remain active, and provide information about effective self-care options (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). RECOMMENDATION 6: For patients with low back pain, clinicians should consider the use of medications with proven benefits in conjunction with back care information and self-care. Clinicians should assess severity of baseline pain and functional deficits, potential benefits, risks, and relative lack of long-term efficacy and safety data before initiating therapy (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence). For most patients, first-line medication options are acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. RECOMMENDATION 7: For patients who do not improve with self-care options, clinicians should consider the addition of nonpharmacologic therapy with proven benefits-for acute low back pain, spinal manipulation; for chronic or subacute low back pain, intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, yoga, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or progressive relaxation (weak recommendation, moderate-quality evidence).
Oregon Health&Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.
Nonorganic physical signs in low-back pain.
Waddell G, McCulloch JA, Kummel E, Venner RM
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1980;5(2):117.
Nonorganic physical signs in low-back pain are described and standardized in 350 North American and British patients. These nonorganic signs are distinguishable from the standard clinical signs of physical pathology and correlate with other psychological data. By helping to separate the physical from the nonorganic they clarify the assessment of purely physical pathologic conditions. It is suggested also that the nonorganic signs can be used as a simple clinical screen to help identify patients who require more detailed psychological assessment.