The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain

The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7590, USA.
Archives of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 17.33). 03/2009; 169(3):251-8. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.543
Source: PubMed


National or state-level estimates on trends in the prevalence of chronic low back pain (LBP) are lacking. The objective of this study was to determine whether the prevalence of chronic LBP and the demographic, health-related, and health care-seeking characteristics of individuals with the condition have changed over the last 14 years.
A cross-sectional, telephone survey of a representative sample of North Carolina households was conducted in 1992 and repeated in 2006. A total of 4437 households were contacted in 1992 and 5357 households in 2006 to identify noninstitutionalized adults 21 years or older with chronic (>3 months), impairing LBP or neck pain that limits daily activities. These individuals were interviewed in more detail about their health and health care seeking.
The prevalence of chronic, impairing LBP rose significantly over the 14-year interval, from 3.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.4%-4.4%) in 1992 to 10.2% (95% CI, 9.3%-11.0%) in 2006. Increases were seen for all adult age strata, in men and women, and in white and black races. Symptom severity and general health were similar for both years. The proportion of individuals who sought care from a health care provider in the past year increased from 73.1% (95% CI, 65.2%-79.8%) to 84.0% (95% CI, 80.8%-86.8%), while the mean number of visits to all health care providers were similar (19.5 [1992] vs 19.4 [2006]).
The prevalence of chronic, impairing LBP has risen significantly in North Carolina, with continuing high levels of disability and health care use. A substantial portion of the rise in LBP care costs over the past 2 decades may be related to this rising prevalence.

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Available from: Andrea S Wallace, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "There are several reasons to better understand the relationship between LBP and radiographic findings of degeneration in the lumbar spine. First, the prevalence of chronic LBP is rising and is associated with decreased physical function [18]. Second, plain film radiographgy is commonly used in clinical practice because it is relatively inexpensive and easily administered [19] [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background/purpose: Low back pain (LBP) is a prevalent musculoskeletal condition and represents a substantial socioeconomic burden. Plain film radiography is a commonly used imaging technique. Radiographic features (RFs) such as disc space narrowing, osteophytes, spondylosis, endplate sclerosis, spondylolisthesis, and facet joint osteoarthritis have all been debated as potential pain generators in the lumbar spine. The aim of this study is to (1) determine the association between LBP and lumbar spine RFs in both community- and occupation-based groups and (2) to determine if there are differences in these associations between these two groups. Methods: A systematic electronic search of PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane was conducted with keywords related to LBP and lumbar spine RFs. The search was restricted from inception of each respective database to April 2014. Inclusion criteria consisted of observational studies of adults (≥18 years) with and without nonspecific LBP. Studies were excluded if they investigated LBP related to infection, malignancy, or rheumatologic nature or were conducted in cadavers. Quality assessment was conducted with the Item Bank for Assessment of Risk of Bias and Precision for Observational Studies of Interventions or Exposures. Random effect models were used for all pooled analyses with associations represented by odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). Statistical heterogeneity was assessed with I(2), with significant heterogeneity represented as >50%. Results: Overall, 28 (22 community-based and six occupation-based) studies met the eligibility criteria consisting of 26,107 subjects. A significant, positive association was found between disc space narrowing and LBP, which did not differ (p = 0.22) in both community- and occupation-based studies [OR = 1.47 (95% CI: 1.36-1.58)] and [OR = 1.76 (95% CI: 1.34-2.33)], respectively. No significant statistical heterogeneity was present in either estimate (I(2) = 0.0%). A significant association was found between spondylolisthesis and LBP in occupation-based studies [OR = 2.21 (95% CI: 1.44-3.39)] that differed significantly (p < 0.01) from community-based studies [OR = 1.12 (95% CI: 1.03-1.23)]. These individual estimates were also homogeneous (I(2) = 0.0%). The association between other radiographic features was modest (i.e., spondylosis and osteophytes) or non-significant (i.e., endplate sclerosis and facet joint). Quality of included studies varied, with the majority demonstrating good quality. Conclusion: A significant association was found between disc space narrowing in both community- and occupational-based populations without significant differences between the associations. A significant strong association was found between spondylolisthesis and LBP among the occupational group but was weakly associated in the community-based group, which supports that spondylolisthesis may contribute a specific cause for LBP.
    Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 12/2014; 44(5). DOI:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.10.006 · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Between 8% and 12% of all patients with lumbar pain comprise chronic cases, with complaints lasting longer than three months (3,4). Facet joint disturbances can be responsible for 10% to 50% of all cases of chronic lumbar pain (5-8). However, clinical history or physical examination cannot identify facet joint alterations as the origin of pain (7,9-13), nor does imaging (e.g., radiography, computed tomography [CT] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) (7,14-16). "
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: To verify the incidence of facetary and low back pain after a controlled medial branch anesthetic block in a three-month follow-up and to verify the correlation between the positive results and the demographic variables. METHODS: Patients with chronic lumbar pain underwent a sham blockade (with a saline injection) and then a controlled medial branch block. Their symptoms were evaluated before and after the sham injection and after the real controlled medial branch block; the symptoms were reevaluated after one day and one week, as well as after one, two and three months using the visual analog scale. We searched for an association between the positive results and the demographic characteristics of the patients. RESULTS: A total of 104 controlled medial branch blocks were performed and 54 patients (52%) demonstrated >50% improvements in pain after the blockade. After three months, lumbar pain returned in only 18 individuals, with visual analogue scale scores >4. Therefore, these patients were diagnosed with chronic facet low back pain. The three-months of follow-up after the controlled medial branch block excluded 36 patients (67%) with false positive results. The results of the controlled medial branch block were not correlated to sex, age, pain duration or work disability but were correlated with patient age (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Patient diagnosis with a controlled medial branch block proved to be effective but was not associated with any demographic variables. A three-month follow-up is required to avoid a high number of false positives.
    Clinics (São Paulo, Brazil) 08/2014; 69(8):529-34. DOI:10.6061/clinics/2014(08)05 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    • "Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the most common self-reported physician-diagnosed pain condition among those 65 years or older in the United States [1–3]. Additionally, CLBP imposes a significant societal and economic burden on the U.S. healthcare system [4–6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This prospective, randomized clinical trial (RCT) pilot study was designed to (1) assess the feasibility and tolerability of an easily administered, auricular point acupressure (APA) intervention and (2) provide an initial assessment of effect size as compared to a sham treatment. Thirty-seven subjects were randomized to receive either the real or sham APA treatment. All participants were treated once a week for 4 weeks. Self-report measures were obtained at baseline, weekly during treatment, at end-of-intervention (EOI), and at a 1-month follow-up. A dropout rate of 26% in the real APA group and 50% in the sham group was observed. The reduction in worst pain from baseline to EOI was 41% for the real and 5% for the sham group with a Cohen's effect size of 1.22 (P < 0.00). Disability scores on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) decreased in the real group by 29% and were unchanged in the sham group (+3%) (P < 0.00). Given the high dropout rate, results must be interpreted with caution; nevertheless, our results suggest that APA may provide an inexpensive and effective complementary approach for the management of back pain in older adults, and further study is warranted.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 07/2014; 2014(2):375173. DOI:10.1155/2014/375173 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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