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Chiropractic Research Review

Patient/MD Interactions May Be Inadequate

Although back pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking health care, many patients with this problem are given an inadequate medical diagnosis. A study of patients making primary care visits to family physicians for treatment of back pain revealed that in most visits, medical providers did not assess functional limitations related to pain and did not discuss how to resume normal activities, even though this was a high priority for most patients.

Medical doctors also did not appear to assess patients differently according to how much pain interfered with their activities.

Back pain is frequently associated with limitation of activity, yet the potential interference with activities seems to be assessed inconsistently in medical care visits. Advice to resume normal activities is also not given consistently to patients with clinically significant functional limitations. These findings emphasize the importance of appropriate case management which focuses on providing credible and effective support for resumption of normal activities.

Turner JA, LeResche L, et al. Back pain in primary care. Patient characteristics, content of initial visit, and short-term outcomes. Spine, Feb. 1998;23(4), pp463-69.

Chiropractic Research Review

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