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Treatment of Lower Back Pain-The Gap between Guideline-Based Treatment and Medical Care Reality

By |November 17, 2022|Guidelines, Initial Provider, Low Back Pain|

Treatment of Lower Back Pain-The Gap between Guideline-Based Treatment and Medical Care Reality

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   Healthcare (Basel) 2016 (Jul 15); 4 (3): 44 ~ FULL TEXT

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Andreas Werber and Marcus Schiltenwolf

Department of Orthopedics and Orthopedic Surgery,
University Hospital Giessen,
Klinikstr. 33, 35392
Giessen, Germany



Despite the fact that unspecific low back pain is of important impact in general health care, this pain condition is often treated insufficiently. Poor efficiency has led to the necessity of guidelines addressing evidence-based strategies for treatment of lower back pain (LBP). We present some statements of the German medical care reality. Self-responsible action of the patient should be supported while invasive methods in particular should be avoided due to lacking evidence in outcome efficiency. However, it has to be stated that no effective implementation strategy has been established yet. Especially, studies on the economic impact of different implementation strategies are lacking.

A lack of awareness of common available guidelines and an uneven distribution of existing knowledge throughout the population can be stated: persons with higher risk suffering from LBP by higher professional demands and lower educational level are not skilled in advised management of LBP. Both diagnostic imaging and invasive treatment methods increased dramatically leading to increased costs and doctor workload without being associated with improved patient functioning, severity of pain or overall health status due to the absence of a functioning primary care gate keeping system for patient selection.

Opioids are prescribed on a grand scale and over a long period. Moreover, opioid prescription is not indicated properly, when predominantly persons with psychological distress like somatoform disorders are treated with opioids.

Keywords:   guideline-based treatment; low back pain; somatisation.


From the FULL TEXT Article:

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Adverse Impacts of Chronic Pain on Health-related Quality of Life, Work Productivity, Depression and Anxiety in a Community-based Study

By |November 5, 2022|Initial Provider, Low Back Pain, Spinal Pain Management|

Adverse Impacts of Chronic Pain on Health-related Quality of Life, Work Productivity, Depression and Anxiety in a Community-based Study

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   Family Practice 2017 (Nov 16); 34 (6): 656–661

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Kosuke Kawai, Alison Tse Kawai, Peter Wollan, Barbara P Yawn

Clinical Research Center,
Boston Children’s Hospital,
Harvard Medical School,
Boston, MA, USA.



Background:   Chronic pain has major clinical and social consequences. Few studies have examined any variation in the extent of impairment on quality of life and work productivity by site and type of chronic pain.

Objective:   The objective of our study is to examine adverse impacts of chronic pain on physical and psychological health and work productivity.

Methods:   Our community-population study was based on a phone-interview of adults with chronic pain, residing in Olmsted County, MN. Chronic pain groups were categorized into abdominal pain, back pain, joint pain, multisite pain, neuropathic pain or no chronic pain. We used standardized instruments, including the Brief Pain Inventory, the Patients Health Questionnair-9, and Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire.

Results:   We evaluated 591 patients suffering from chronic pain and 150 participants with no chronic pain. Almost one third of patients with multisite pain (33%) and neuropathic pain (32%) reported mild/major depressive symptoms. Patients suffering from chronic pain, particularly from multisite pain and neuropathic pain, reported significant pain interferences with daily activities and impairments in physical function. Chronic pain was significantly associated with reduced performance at work but not with missed work hours. The average reported reduction in work productivity ranged from 2.4 hours (±5.6) per week for adults with joint chronic pain to 9.8 hours (±11.1) per week for adults with multisite chronic pain.

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A Retrospective Analysis of Pain Changes and Opioid Use Patterns Temporally Associated with a Course of Chiropractic Care at a Publicly Funded Inner-city Facility

By |November 4, 2022|Initial Provider, Opioid Epidemic|

A Retrospective Analysis of Pain Changes and Opioid Use Patterns Temporally Associated with a Course of Chiropractic Care at a Publicly Funded Inner-city Facility

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   J Can Chiropr Assoc 2022 (Aug); 66 (2): 107–117

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Steven Passmore, Hons BKin, MS, DC, PhD, Quinn Malone, BSc, MSc1, Christian Manansala, BSc, DC, MSc, Spencer Ferbers, BSc,
E. Audrey Toth, DC, Gerald M. Olin, BSc, DC, CDir

Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management,
University of Manitoba,
102- Frank Kennedy Centre,
420 University Crescent,
Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2 Canada



FROM:   Kazis et. al, BMJ Open 2019


Background:   Non-pharmacologic treatment, including chiropractic care, is now recommended instead of opioid prescriptions as the initial management of chronic spine pain by clinical practice guidelines. Chiropractic care, commonly including spinal manipulation, has been temporally associated with reduced opioid prescription in veterans with spine pain.

Purpose:   To determine if chiropractic management including spinal manipulation was associated with decreased pain or opioid usage in financially disadvantaged individuals utilizing opioid medications and diagnosed with musculoskeletal conditions.

Methods:   A retrospective analysis of quality assurance data from a publicly funded healthcare facility was conducted. Measures included numeric pain scores of spine and extremity regions across three time points, opioid utilization, demographics, and care modalities.

Results:   Pain and opioid use significantly decreased concomitant with a course of chiropractic care.

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Where to Start? A Two Stage Residual Inclusion Approach to Estimating Influence of the Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization and Costs for Low Back Pain in the US

By |May 28, 2022|Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic, Initial Provider|

Where to Start? A Two Stage Residual Inclusion Approach to Estimating Influence of the Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization and Costs for Low Back Pain in the US

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   BMC Health Serv Res 2022 (May 23); 22 (1): 694

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Kenneth J. Harwood, Jesse M. Pines, C. Holly A. Andrilla & Bianca K. Frogner

College of Health and Education,
Marymount University,
Arlington, VA, USA.



Background:   Diagnostic testing and treatment recommendations can vary when medical care is sought by individuals for low back pain (LBP), leading to variation in quality and costs of care. We examine how the first provider seen by an individual at initial diagnosis of LBP influences downstream utilization and costs.

Methods:   Using national private health insurance claims data, individuals age 18 or older were retrospectively assigned to cohorts based on the first provider seen at the index date of LBP diagnosis. Exclusion criteria included individuals with a diagnosis of LBP or any serious medical conditions or an opioid prescription recorded in the 6 months prior to the index date. Outcome measures included use of imaging, back surgery rates, hospitalization rates, emergency department visits, early- and long-term opioid use, and costs (out-of-pocket and total costs of care) twelve months post-index date. We used a two-stage residual inclusion (2SRI) estimation approach comparing copay for the initial provider visit and differential distance as the instrumental variable to reduce selection bias in the choice of first provider, controlling for demographics.

Results:   Among 3,799,593 individuals, cost and utilization varied considerably based on the first provider seen by the patient. Copay and differential distance provided similar results, with copay preserving a greater sample size. The frequency of early opioid prescription was significantly lower when care began with an acupuncturist or chiropractor, and highest for those who began with an emergency medicine physician or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Long-term opioid prescriptions were low across most providers except physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians and APRNs. The frequency and time to serious illness varied little across providers. Total cost of care was lowest when starting with a chiropractor ($5,093) or primary care physician ($5,660), and highest when starting with an orthopedist ($9,434) or acupuncturist ($9,205).

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Characteristics of Older Adults with Back Pain Associated with Choice of First Primary Care Provider: A Cross-sectional Analysis from the BACE-N Cohort Study

By |January 20, 2022|Initial Provider, Medicare|

Characteristics of Older Adults with Back Pain Associated with Choice of First Primary Care Provider: A Cross-sectional Analysis from the BACE-N Cohort Study

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   BMJ Open 2021 (Sep 17); 11 (9): e053229

Ørjan Nesse Vigdal, Kjersti Storheim, Rikke Munk Killingmo, Milada Cvancarova Småstuen, and Margreth Grotle

Department of Physiotherapy,
Oslo Metropolitan University,
Oslo, Norway



Objectives:   To describe characteristics of older adults with back pain in primary care, and to assess associations between patient characteristics and type of first primary care provider (general practitioner (GP), physiotherapist (PT) or chiropractor).

Design:   Cross-sectional analysis from the Back Complaints in the Elders-Norway cohort study.

Setting:   Norwegian GP, PT and chiropractic primary care centres.

Participants:   Patients aged ≥55 years seeking Norwegian primary care with a new episode of back pain were invited to participate. Between April 2015 and February 2020, we included 452 patients: 127 first visited a GP, 130 first visited a PT and 195 first visited a chiropractor.

Primary and secondary outcome measures:   For the first objective, the outcome measure was descriptive statistics of patient characteristics, covering the following domains: sociodemographic, general health, current and previous back pain, psychological and clinical factors. For the second objective, first primary care provider was the outcome measure. Associations between patient characteristics and visiting a GP or PT compared with a chiropractor were assessed with multiple multinomial regression analyses.

Results:   Median (IQR) age was 66 (59-72) years. Levels of back-related disability was moderate to severe, with a median (IQR) Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (range 0-24) score of 9 (5-13). Recurring episodes were common, 301 (67%) patients had monthly or yearly recurrences. Patients with worse back-related disability, longer duration of symptoms, lower expectations for full recovery and worse physical performance measured with the Back Performance Scale had higher odds of visiting a GP or PT compared with a chiropractor (p<0.05).

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Association of Initial Provider Type on Opioid Fills for Individuals With Neck Pain

By |July 3, 2021|Initial Provider, Opioid Epidemic|

Association of Initial Provider Type on Opioid Fills for Individuals With Neck Pain

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   Archives of Phys Med and Rehabilitation 2020 (Aug)

Christopher J. Louis, PhD, Carolina-Nicole S. Herrera, MA, et. al.

Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management,
Boston University School of Public Health,
Boston, Massachusetts.


Objective:   To determine whether the initial care provider for neck pain was associated with opioid use for individuals with neck pain.

Design:   Retrospective cohort study.

Setting:   Marketscan research databases.

Participants   : Patients (N=427,966) with new-onset neck pain from 2010-2014.

Main outcome measures:   Opioid use was defined using retail pharmacy fills. We performed logistic regression analysis to assess the association between initial provider and opioid use. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using bootstrapping logistic models. We performed propensity score matching as a robustness check on our findings.

Results:   Compared to patients with neck pain who saw a primary health care provider, patients with neck pain who initially saw a conservative therapist were 72%–91% less likely to fill an opioid prescription in the first 30 days, and between 41%–87% less likely to continue filling prescriptions for 1 year. People with neck pain who initially saw emergency medicine physicians had the highest odds of opioid use during the first 30 days (OR, 3.58; 95% CI, 3.47–3.69; P<.001).

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