A study on acute low back pain (LBP) in consecutive working patients in a multicenter study in general practice
LBP costs are enormous in all countries. New guidelines
are difficult to introduce. On the basis of a new, specially developed LBP scale, the aims were to predict the duration of sick leave (SL), and to examine if the guidelines
concerning bed rest (BR) and referral
to radiographical examination were followed.
Summary of Background Data.
Pain intensity and heavy work
influence the course of SL. A finger-to-floor distance test assesses the mobility of the spine, and both the finger-to-floor distance test and the straight leg raising test (SLRT) can be used to predict the course of LBP. BR or waiting time for treatment or referral
will prolong SL. The expectations of patients and general practitioners are strong outcome predictors as is information about the prognosis.
A user-friendly 10-item questionnaire was specifically developed. The scale included the background date. From a predefined scale the patients were subgrouped into 3 categories in relation to SL: (1) “no SL” or “a few days of SL,” (2) “1 week of SL,” and (3) “more than 2 weeks of SL.” The Fisher exact test was used to compare categorical variables.
Twenty-three doctors examined 207 working patients. A total of 114 patients (56%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. The 10-item scale showed a good correlation between the total score at the first general practitioner visit and predictable time of SL according to the 3 periods.
The frequency of BR and referral to radiographical examination was low, and perhaps this was a consequence of using the scale.
The specially developed short and user-friendly 10-item LBP scale was a good predictor
of the duration of SL. A low rate of BR and radiographical examination may even be the result of using the scale.
Level of Evidence: N/A