Point-of-Care Prognosis for Common Musculoskeletal Pain in Older Adults
IMPORTANCE Many site-specific, multivariable risk models for predicting the outcome of musculoskeletal pain problems have been published. The overlapping content in these models suggests a common set of generic indicators suitable for use in primary care. OBJECTIVE To investigate whether a brief set of generic prognostic indicators can predict the outcome of musculoskeletal pain in older patients presenting to general practitioners. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A prospective observational cohort study conducted from September 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007, of consecutive patients 50 years or older presenting with noninflammatory musculoskeletal pain to 1 of the 5 participating general practices in the United Kingdom. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES During consultation, the treating physician assessed and recorded 5 brief generic items (duration of present pain episode, current pain intensity, pain interference with daily activities, presence of multiple-site pain, and ultrashort depression screen) and recorded their overall prognostic judgment. The primary outcome was patient-rated improvement, which was measured 6 months after consultation and cross-validated with repeated measures up to 3 years. RESULTS A total of 194 (48.1%) of 403 participants were classified as having an unfavorable outcome at 6 months. Inclusion of 3 generic prognostic indicators (duration of present pain episode, pain interference with daily activities, and presence of multiple-site pain) in the prognostic model improved on reliance on physicians' prognostic judgment alone (C statistic = 0.72 vs 0.62; net reclassification index = 0.136; proportion correctly classified = 69%). The improvement in prognostic accuracy was attributable to correcting physicians' tendency toward overoptimistic expectations of outcome. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Three easy-to-obtain pieces of information followed by systematic recording of the general practitioners' prognostic judgment provide a simple generic assessment of prognosis at point of care in older persons presenting with musculoskeletal problems to primary care practices in the United Kingdom. Such an assessment offers a common foundation for investigating the usefulness of prognostic stratification for guiding management in the consultation across a range of common painful conditions.
Available from: Ann Margaret Taylor
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ABSTRACT: The term ‘problematic pain’ is relatively new and has been the recent source of much debate, especially among primary and community care pain clinicians. In this article, we review the concept of problematic pain, highlighting how it fits in the context of acute, sub-acute and chronic pain. We also examine how risk for the development of chronicity can be assessed using current data and screening tools. The use of ultra-short screening tools for other conditions has previously been evaluated in the literature, and we propose a new tool, to open discussion for the assessment of problematic pain. This is especially relevant in the short consultation where it can be difficult to capture meaningful information quickly. Finally, we focus upon new initiatives currently in progress in the arena of problematic pain in the United Kingdom.
Available from: Rachael M Coakley
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