Objectives: Switzerland has optimal conditions for research of language-based cultural influences on low back pain (LBP). The aim of this study was to compare LBP treatment outcomes after chiropractic care between patients from the German- and French-speaking regions of Switzerland.
Methods: Baseline Numeric Rating Scale for pain (NRS), demographic, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were collected from patients presenting to 51 Swiss-German and 12 Swiss-French chiropractors. Prospective outcome data included the proportion reporting clinically relevant improvement on the Patient Global Impression of Change scale and the NRS change scores collected at 1 week; 1, 3, and 6 months; and 1 year. ODI change scores were collected until 3 months. The proportion improved between the 2 groups was compared using the χ2 test. NRS and ODI change scores were compared using the unpaired t test.
Results: At baseline, only patient age comparing 853 Swiss-German and 215 Swiss-French patients revealed a significant difference. The Patient Global Impression of Change, NRS, and ODI had no significant differences between both patient groups up to 6 months. Between 6 months and 1 year the proportion reporting improvement continued to increase to 83.5% for German-speaking Swiss but reduced to 73.1% for French-speaking Swiss (P = .01). The NRS change scores were also higher for German speaking Swiss at 1 year compared with Swiss-French citizens (P = .01).
Conclusion: Treatment outcome data for LBP are comparable in the German and French parts of Switzerland until the 1-year time point, when people located in the French-speaking regions are more likely to have an increase in pain levels.
Author keywords: Low Back Pain, Mechanical; Treatment Outcome; Cultural Diversity; Chiropractic; Spinal Manipulation
Author affiliations: University of Zürich. Orthopaedic University Hospital Balgrist. Department of Chiropractic Medicine (Switzerland / Zurich)
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