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Chiropractic Research Review

Clinical Pathways and Chronic Low-Back Pain

A clinical pathway provides a systematic method for identifying a sequence of key events in the typical treatment process. The lack of clinical pathways in the chiropractic profession may affect the professions standing and credibility within the health care delivery system.

This literature review describes the key components of clinical pathway development and provides a sample pathway for chiropractic management of chronic low-back pain. The author suggests that this proposed clinical pathway include such elements as:

* assessment of physical disability and health status (especially by way of questionnaires);

* evaluation and restoration of function;

* specific strategies for managing low-back pain within an eight, 12, or 16-week time frame;

* monitoring patients for signs of regression.

Conclusion: Treatment protocols for managing low-back pain and other conditions serve several important purposes: They define clinical standards; increase patient involvement; provide a system for data collection; and increase quality of service while reducing time of care. Clinical pathways are essential in the continuous advancement of chiropractic within the health care profession.

Klein AS. A proposed clinical pathway for chiropractic management of chronic low-back-pain patients. Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, June 1998;5(2), pp41-47. Reprints: (800) 248-0360

Chiropractic Research Review

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