METHODS: Patients visiting one of 7 chiropractors because of LBP were classified according to a diagnostic classification system, which includes end-range loading, SI-joint pain provocation tests, neurological examination and tests for muscle tenderness and abnormal nerve tension. In addition, age, gender, duration of pain and presence of leg pain were registered in the patient's file. By weekly SMS-messages on their mobile phones, patients were asked how many days they had LBP the preceding week, and these answers were transformed into pain course patterns and the total number of LBP days.
RESULTS: A total of 110 patients were included and 76 (69%) completed follow-up. Thirty-five patients were examined by two chiropractors. The agreement regarding diagnostic classes was 83% (95% CI: 70 - 96). The diagnostic classes were associated with the pain course patterns and number of LBP days. Patients with disc pain had the highest number of LBP days and patients with muscular pain reported the fewest (35 vs. 12 days, p < 0.01). Men had better outcome than women (17 vs. 29 days, p < 0.01) and patients without leg pain tended to have fewer LBP days than those with leg pain (21 vs.31 days, p = 0.06). Duration of LBP at the first visit was not associated with outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: The study indicated that there is a clinically meaningful relationship between diagnostic classes and the course of LBP. This should be evaluated in more depth.
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