Upper limb pain in primary care: health beliefs, somatic distress, consulting and patient satisfaction
ABSTRACT Beliefs and mental well-being could influence decisions to consult about upper limb pain and satisfaction with care.
To describe beliefs about upper limb pain in the community and explore associations of beliefs and mental health with consulting and dissatisfaction.
Questionnaires were mailed to 4998 randomly chosen working-aged patients from general practices in Avon. We asked about upper limb pain, consulting, beliefs about symptoms, dissatisfaction with care, somatizing tendency (using elements of the Brief Symptom Inventory) and mental well-being (using the Short-Form 36). Associations were explored by logistic regression.
Among 2632 responders, 1271 reported arm pain during the past 12 months, including 389 consulters. A third or more of responders felt that arm pain sufferers should avoid physical activity, that problems would persist beyond 3 months, that a doctor should be seen straightaway and that neglect could lead to permanent harm. Consulters were significantly more likely to agree with these statements than other upper limb pain sufferers. The proportion of consultations attributable to such beliefs was substantial. Dissatisfaction with care was commoner in those with poor mental health: the OR for being dissatisfied (worst versus best third of the distribution) was 3.2 (95% CI 1.2-8.5) for somatizing tendency and 2.4 (95% CI 1.3-4.7) for SF-36 score. Both factors were associated with dissatisfaction about doctors' sympathy, communication and care in examining.
Negative beliefs about upper limb pain are common and associated with consulting. Somatizers and those in poorer mental health tend, subsequently, to feel dissatisfied with care.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate whether whole-body vibration (WBV) is associated with prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc (PID) and nerve root entrapment among patients with low-back pain (LBP) undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). METHODS: A consecutive series of patients referred for lumbar MRI because of LBP were compared with controls X-rayed for other reasons. Subjects were questioned about occupational activities loading the spine, psychosocial factors, driving, personal characteristics, mental health, and certain beliefs about LBP. Exposure to WBV was assessed by six measures, including weekly duration of professional driving, hours driven at a spell, and current 8-hour daily equivalent root-mean-square acceleration A(8). Cases were sub-classified according to whether or not PID/nerve root entrapment was present. Associations with WBV were examined separately for cases with and without these MRI findings, with adjustment for age, sex, and other potential confounders. RESULTS: Altogether, 237 cases and 820 controls were studied, including 183 professional drivers and 176 cases with PID and/or nerve root entrapment. Risks associated with WBV tended to be lower for LBP with PID/nerve root entrapment but somewhat higher for risks of LBP without these abnormalities. However, associations with the six metrics of exposure were all weak and not statistically significant. Neither exposure-response relationships nor increased risk of PID/nerve root entrapment from professional driving or exposure at an A(8) above the European Union daily exposure action level were found. CONCLUSIONS: WBV may be a cause of LBP but it was not associated with PID or nerve root entrapment in this study.Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 01/2012; DOI:10.5271/sjweh.3273 · 3.10 Impact Factor
03/2012; 2(2):97-100. DOI:10.2217/pmt.12.1
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ABSTRACT: Distal upper limb pain (pain affecting the elbow, forearm, wrist, or hand) can be non-specific, or can arise from specific musculoskeletal disorders. It is clinically important and costly, the best approach to clinical management is unclear. Physiotherapy is the standard treatment and, while awaiting treatment, advice is often given to rest and avoid strenuous activities, but there is no evidence base to support these strategies. This paper describes the protocol of a randomised controlled trial to determine, among patients awaiting physiotherapy for distal arm pain, (a) whether advice to remain active and maintain usual activities results in a long-term reduction in arm pain and disability, compared with advice to rest; and (b) whether immediate physiotherapy results in a long-term reduction in arm pain and disability, compared with physiotherapy delivered after a seven week waiting list period. Between January 2012 and January 2014, new referrals to 14 out-patient physiotherapy departments were screened for potential eligibility. Eligible and consenting patients were randomly allocated to one of the following three groups in equal numbers: 1) advice to remain active, 2) advice to rest, 3) immediate physiotherapy. Patients were and followed up at 6, 13, and 26 weeks post-randomisation by self-complete postal questionnaire and, at six weeks, patients who had not received physiotherapy were offered it at this time. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients free of disability at 26 weeks, as determined by the modified DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) questionnaire.We hypothesise (a) that advice to maintain usual activities while awaiting physiotherapy will be superior than advice to rest the arm; and (b) that fast-track physiotherapy will be superior to normal (waiting list) physiotherapy. These hypotheses will be examined using an intention-to-treat analysis. Results from this trial will contribute to the evidence base underpinning the clinical management of patients with distal upper limb pain, and in particular, will provide guidance on whether they should be advised to rest the arm or remain active within the limits imposed by their symptoms.Trial registration: Registered on www.controlled-trials.com (reference number: ISRCTN79085082).BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 03/2014; 15(1):71. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-15-71 · 1.90 Impact Factor