Is establishing a specialist back pain assessment and management service in primary care a safe and effective model? Twelve-month results from the Back pain Assessment Clinic (BAC) prospective cohort pilot study.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:To report on the design, implementation and evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of the Back pain Assessment Clinic (BAC) model. DESIGN:BAC is a new, community-based specialist service for assessing and managing neck and low back pain (LBP). The BAC pilot was supported by a Victorian Department of Health and Human Services grant and was evaluated using the Victorian Innovation Reform Impact Assessment Framework (VIRIAF). Data were obtained by auditing BAC activity (22 July 2014 to 30 June 2015) and conducting surveys and interviews of patients, stakeholders and referrers. SETTING:Tertiary and primary care. PARTICIPANTS:Adult patients with neck and LBP referred for outpatient surgical consultation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:VIRIAF outcomes: (1) access to care; (2) appropriate and safe care; (3) workforce optimisation and integration; and (4) efficiency and sustainability. RESULTS:A total of 522 patients were seen during the pilot. Most were referred to hospital services by general practitioners (87%) for LBP (63%) and neck pain (24%). All patients were seen within 10 weeks of referral and commenced community-based allied health intervention within 2-4 weeks of assessment in BAC. Of patients seen, 34% had medications adjusted, 57% were referred for physiotherapy, 3.2% to pain services, 1.1% to rheumatology and 1.8% for surgical review. Less MRI scans were ordered in BAC (6.4%) compared with traditional spinal surgical clinics (89.8%), which translated to a cost-saving of $52?560 over 12?months. Patient and staff satisfaction was high. There have been no patient complaints or adverse incidents. CONCLUSION:Evaluation of the BAC pilot suggests it is a potentially safe and cost-saving alternative model of care. Results of the BAC pilot merit further evaluation to determine the potential cost-effectiveness, longer term and broader societal impact of implementing BAC more widely.
Project description:PURPOSE: Clinical guidelines provide similar recommendations for the management of new neck pain and low back pain (LBP) but it is unclear if general practitioner's (GP) care is similar. While GP's management of LBP is well documented, little is known about GP's management of neck pain. We aimed to describe GP's management of new neck pain and compare this to GP's management of new LBP in Australia between April 2000 and March 2010. METHODS: All GP-patient encounters for a new (i.e. first visit to any medical practitioner) neck pain or LBP problem were compared in terms of treatment delivered, referral patterns and requests for laboratory and imaging investigations. RESULTS: General practitioners in Australia have managed new neck pain and LBP problems at a rate of 3.1 and 5.8 per 1,000 GP-patient encounters, respectively. GP's primarily utilised medications, in particular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to manage new neck and LBP problems and referred approximately 25% of all patients for imaging. Patients with new neck pain are more frequently managed using physical treatments and were referred more often to allied health professionals and specialists. In comparison, patients with new LBP were managed more frequently with medication, advice, provision of a sickness certificate and ordering of pathology tests. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first time GP management of a new episode of neck pain has been documented using a nationally representative sample and it is also the first time that the management of back and neck pain has been compared. Despite guidelines endorsing a similar approach for the management of new neck pain and LBP, in actual clinical practice Australian GPs manage these two conditions differently.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chiropractic care is a popular alternative for back and neck pain, with efficacy comparable to usual care in randomized trials. However, the effectiveness of chiropractic care as delivered through conventional care settings remains largely unexplored. OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the comparative effectiveness of usual care with or without chiropractic care for patients with chronic recurrent musculoskeletal back and neck pain. STUDY DESIGN:Prospective cohort study using propensity score-matched controls. PARTICIPANTS:Using retrospective electronic health record data, we developed a propensity score model predicting likelihood of chiropractic referral. Eligible patients with back or neck pain were then contacted upon referral for chiropractic care and enrolled in a prospective study. For each referred patient, two propensity score-matched non-referred patients were contacted and enrolled. We followed the participants prospectively for 6 months. MAIN MEASURES:Main outcomes included pain severity, interference, and symptom bothersomeness. Secondary outcomes included expenditures for pain-related health care. KEY RESULTS:Both groups' (N = 70 referred, 139 non-referred) pain scores improved significantly over the first 3 months, with less change between months 3 and 6. No significant between-group difference was observed. (severity - 0.10 (95% CI - 0.30, 0.10), interference - 0.07 (- 0.31, 0.16), bothersomeness - 0.1 (- 0.39, 0.19)). After controlling for variances in baseline costs, total costs during the 6-month post-enrollment follow-up were significantly higher on average in the non-referred versus referred group ($1996 [SD = 3874] vs $1086 [SD = 1212], p = .034). Adjusting for differences in age, gender, and Charlson comorbidity index attenuated this finding, which was no longer statistically significant (p = .072). CONCLUSIONS:We found no statistically significant difference between the two groups in either patient-reported or economic outcomes. As clinical outcomes were similar, and the provision of chiropractic care did not increase costs, making chiropractic services available provided an additional viable option for patients who prefer this type of care, at no additional expense.
Project description:BACKGROUND:An improved understanding of patients' perceived needs for medical services for low back pain (LBP) will enable healthcare providers to better align service provision with patient expectations, thus improving patient and health care system outcomes. Thus, we aimed to identify the existing literature regarding patients' perceived needs for medical services for LBP. METHODS:A systematic scoping review was performed of publications identified from MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycINFO (1990-2016). Descriptive data regarding each study, its design and methodology were extracted and risk of bias assessed. Aggregates of patients' perceived needs for medical services for LBP were categorised. RESULTS:50 studies (35 qualitative, 14 quantitative and 1 mixed-methods study) from 1829 were relevant. Four areas of perceived need emerged: (1) Patients with LBP sought healthcare from medical practitioners to obtain a diagnosis, receive management options, sickness certification and legitimation for their LBP. However, there was dissatisfaction with the cursory and superficial approach of care. (2) Patients had concerns about pharmacotherapy, with few studies reporting on patients' preferences for medications. (3) Of the few studies which examined the patients' perceived need of invasive therapies, these found that patients avoided injections and surgeries (4) Patients desired spinal imaging for diagnostic purposes and legitimation of symptoms. CONCLUSIONS:Across many different patient populations with data obtained from a variety of study designs, common themes emerged which highlighted areas of patient dissatisfaction with the medical management of LBP, in particular, the superficial approach to care perceived by patients and concerns regarding pharmacotherapy. Patients perceive unmet needs from medical services, including the need to obtain a diagnosis, the desire for pain control and the preference for spinal imaging. These issues need to be considered in developing approaches for the management of LBP in order to improve patient outcomes.
Project description:Pain variability in acute LBP has received limited study. The objectives of this pilot study were to characterize fluctuations in pain during acute LBP, to determine whether self-reported 'flares' of pain represent discrete periods of increased pain intensity, and to examine whether the frequency of flares was associated with back-related disability outcomes.We conducted a cohort study of acute LBP patients utilizing frequent serial assessments and Internet-based data collection. Adults with acute LBP (lasting ?3 months) completed questionnaires at the time of seeking care, and at both 3-day and 1-week intervals, for 6 weeks. Back pain was measured using a numerical pain rating scale (NPRS), and disability was measured using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). A pain flare was defined as 'a period of increased pain lasting at least 2 hours, when your pain intensity is distinctly worse than it has been recently'. We used mixed-effects linear regression to model longitudinal changes in pain intensity, and multivariate linear regression to model associations between flare frequency and disability outcomes.42 of 47 participants (89%) reported pain flares, and the average number of discrete flare periods per patient was 3.5 over 6 weeks of follow-up. More than half of flares were less than 4 hours in duration, and about 75% of flares were less than one day in duration. A model with a quadratic trend for time best characterized improvements in pain. Pain decreased rapidly during the first 14 days after seeking care, and leveled off after about 28 days. Patients who reported a pain flare experienced an almost 3-point greater current NPRS than those not reporting a flare (mean difference [SD] 2.70 [0.11]; p < 0.0001). Higher flare frequency was independently associated with a higher final ODI score (ß [SE} 0.28 (0.08); p = 0.002).Acute LBP is characterized by variability. Patients with acute LBP report multiple distinct flares of pain, which correspond to discrete increases in pain intensity. A higher flare frequency is associated with worse disability outcomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neck and low back pain (LBP) are common in office workers. Exercise trials to reduce neck and LBP conducted in sport sector are lacking. We investigated the effectiveness of the standardised Fustra20Neck&Back exercise program for reducing pain and increasing fitness in office workers with recurrent non-specific neck and/or LBP. METHOD:Volunteers were recruited through newspaper and Facebook. The design is a multi-centre randomised, two-arm, parallel group trial across 34 fitness clubs in Finland. Eligibility was determined by structured telephone interview. Instructors were specially educated professionals. Neuromuscular exercise was individually guided twice weekly for 10 weeks. Webropol survey, and objective measurements of fitness, physical activity, and sedentary behavior were conducted at baseline, and at 3 and 12 months. Mean differences between study groups (Exercise vs Control) were analysed using a general linear mixed model according to the intention-to-treat principle. RESULTS:At least moderate intensity pain (≥40 mm) in both the neck and back was detected in 44% of participants at baseline. Exercise compliance was excellent: 92% participated 15-20 times out of 20 possible. Intensity and frequency of neck pain, and strain in neck/shoulders decreased significantly in the Exercise group compared with the Control group. No differences in LBP and strain were detected. Neck/shoulder and trunk flexibility improved, as did quality of life in terms of pain and physical functioning. CONCLUSIONS:The Fustra20Neck&Back exercise program was effective for reducing neck/shoulder pain and strain, but not LBP. Evidence-based exercise programs of sports clubs have potential to prevent persistent, disabling musculoskeletal problems.
Project description:Chronic low back pain (LBP) and neck pain (NP) are highly prevalent conditions resulting in high economic costs. Treatment guidelines recommend relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, as adjuvant therapies. Self-care interventions could have the potential to reduce costs in the health care system, but their effectiveness, especially in a usual care setting, is unclear. The aim of these two pragmatic randomized studies is to evaluate whether an additional app-delivered relaxation is more effective in the reduction of chronic LBP or NP than usual care alone.Each pragmatic randomized two-armed study aims to include a total of 220 patients aged 18 to 65 years with chronic (>12 weeks) LBP or NP and an average pain intensity of ≥ 4 on a numeric rating scale (NRS) in the 7 days before recruitment. The participants will be randomized into an intervention and a usual care group. The intervention group will be instructed to practice one of these 3 relaxation techniques on at least 5 days/week for 15 minutes/day over a period of 6 months starting on the day of randomization: autogenic training, mindfulness meditation, or guided imagery. Instructions and exercises will be provided using a smartphone app, baseline information will be collected using paper and pencil. Follow-up information (daily, weekly, and after 3 and 6 months) will be collected using electronic diaries and questionnaires included in the app. The primary outcome measure will be the mean LBP or NP intensity during the first 3 months of intervention based on daily pain intensity measurements on a NRS (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain). The secondary outcome parameters will include the mean pain intensity during the first 6 months after randomization based on daily measurements, the mean pain intensity measured weekly as the average pain intensity of the previous 7 days over 3 and 6 months, pain acceptance, 'LBP- and NP-related' stress, sick leave days, pain medication intake, adherence, suspected adverse reaction, and serious adverse events.The designed studies reflect a usual self-care setting and will provide evidence on a pragmatic self-care intervention that is easy to combine with care provided by medical professionals.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier Relaxback NCT02019498, Relaxneck NCT02019134 registered on 18 December 2013.
Project description:In Western Australia (WA), health policy recommends encouraging the use of active self-management strategies as part of the co-care of consumers with persistent low back pain (LBP). As many areas in WA are geographically isolated and health services are limited, implementing this policy into practice is critical if health outcomes for consumers living in geographically-isolated areas are to be improved.In this prospective cohort study, 51 consumers (mean (SD) age 62.3 (± 15.1) years) participated in an evidence-based interdisciplinary pain education program (modified Self Training Educative Pain Sessions: mSTEPS) delivered at three geographically isolated WA sites. Self report measures included LBP beliefs and attitudes (Back Pain Beliefs Questionnaire (BBQ); Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ)), use of active and passive self-management strategies, and health literacy, and global perceived impression of usefulness (GPIU) recorded immediately pre-intervention (n = 51), same day post-intervention (BBQ; GPIU, n = 49) and 3 months post-intervention (n = 25).At baseline, consumers demonstrated adequate health literacy and elements of positive health behaviours, reflected by the use of more active than passive strategies in self-managing their persistent LBP. Immediately post-intervention, there was strong evidence for improvement in consumers' general beliefs about LBP as demonstrated by an increase in BBQ scores (baseline [mean (SD): 25.8 (7.6)] to same day post-intervention [28.8 (7.2); P < 0.005], however this improvement was not sustained at 3 months post-intervention. The majority of consumers (86.4%) reported the intervention as very useful [rated on NRS as 7-10].To sustain improved consumer beliefs regarding LBP and encourage the adoption of more positive health behaviours, additional reinforcement strategies for consumers living in remote areas where service access and skilled workforce are limited are recommended. This study highlights the need for aligning health services and skilled workforce to improve the delivery of co-care for consumers living in geographically isolated areas.
Project description:Compare health care utilization and charges for low-back-pain (LBP) patients receiving advanced imaging or physical therapy as a first management strategy following a new primary care consultation.Electronic medical record (EMR) and insurance claims data.Retrospective analysis of propensity-matched groups.Claims and EMR data were used. Utilization and LBP-related charges over a 1-year period were extracted from claims data.In the propensity-matched sample (n = 406), advanced imaging recipients had higher odds of all utilization outcomes. Charges were higher with advanced imaging by an average $4,793 (95 percent CI: $3,676, $5,910).For patients with LBP whom newly consulted primary care referred for additional management, advanced imaging as a first management was associated with higher health care utilization and charges than physical therapy.
Project description:An instrument known as the Mechanical and Inflammatory Low Back Pain (MAIL) Scale was drafted using the results of a previous expert opinion study. A pilot survey was conducted to test the feasibility of a larger study designed to determine the MAIL Scale's ability to distinguish two potential subgroups of low back pain: inflammatory and mechanical.Patients with a primary complaint of low back pain (LBP) presenting to chiropractic clinics in Perth, Western Australia were asked to fill out the MAIL Scale questionnaire. The instrument's ability to separate patients into inflammatory and mechanical subgroups of LBP was examined using the mean score of each notional subgroup as an arbitrary cut-off point.Data were collected from 50 patients. The MAIL Scale did not appear to separate cases of LBP into the two notionally distinct groups of inflammatory (n = 6) or mechanical (n = 5). A larger "mixed symptom" group (n = 39) was revealed.In this pilot study the MAIL Scale was unable to clearly discriminate between what is thought to be mechanical and inflammatory LBP in 50 cases seen in a chiropractic setting. However, the small sample size means any conclusions must be viewed with caution. Further research within a larger study population may be warranted and feasible.
Project description:We conducted a five stage pilot study which initially consisted of a review of 75 case notes of people attending an emergency department (ED) in an inner London Teaching Hospital with musculoskeletal (MSK) low back pain (LBP). This review highlighted inconsistencies in how they were assessed and managed across and within different staff groups. We found patient documentation was often incomplete and that a biomedical model approach to the management of these patients was common. As a result, four further stages in the project were conducted. Our primary aim was to evaluate the impact of implementing a locally developed quality improvement intervention for the assessment and treatment of MSK LBP in this ED. Secondary aims were to explore the user experience of the new pathway, measured by the patient experience questionnaire (PEQ), and any associated health economic costs of changes in practice. The quality improvement intervention consisted of an evidence based low back pain pathway (EBLBPP), a staff educational program, and a patient education booklet. We undertook a retrospective baseline audit of 100 clinical records of patients was undertaken prior to the instigation of the quality improvement intervention, and four months post implementation. The pre-defined variables of interest were: documentation of the case history, examination, classification of back pain (and if correct), prescribed management and if the documentation was compliant with medico-legal standards. All patients in the study were sent a PEQ to complete and return in a self-addressed envelope. Estimated health costs associated with each patient episode of care were calculated including re-attendance episodes for any people presenting with MSK LBP within a four week period. There was a significant improvement in all areas evaluated post implementation in all groups (simple, referred and simple, referred and serious spinal pathology combined). In particular; screening for red flags (22%) and biopsychosocial factors (29%), as well as noting the prevalence of previous symptoms (44%), observation of the painful area (57%), and analysis classification (59%) at a at 95% confidence interval (CI). In terms of management, an increase in adherence to the analgesic ladder, patients receiving reassurance and appropriate referral back to their GP's increased 45%, 23% and 44% at 95% CI respectively. Unfortunately, there was insufficient data to draw any meaningful conclusions from the patient experience data due to a low response rate. In conclusion, the introduction of the EBLBPP, patient education leaflet and teaching training for staff involved in the treatment of MSK LBP patients has improved the quality and consistency of the documented assessment and subsequent management of MSK LBP patients.