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Chiropractic Research Review

The Patient-Specific Approach for Measuring Back Pain

Functional status, the ability to perform basic activities of daily living, is of great interest to back pain patients and the health care professionals they visit. Patients with low back pain often find a challenge in the simplest of tasks.

Evaluating the specific measurement of functional status based on patient-specific needs, and focusing on activities that patients select as their main areas of concern, served as the focus of this study.

In a group of 150 patients with nonspecific low back pain, patients top three "complaints" (activities they perceived as important in life, yet found hampered by their low back pain) were determined during individual visits.

This "patient-specific" approach was then compared at baseline and after 12 weeks with several other outcome measures, including a seven-point self-assessment scale; the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ); and a 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Results showed that the patient-specific approach was useful for detecting changes on complaints that were highly relevant to the individual patient, although less specific to change compared with other instruments. Patients also appreciated the attention paid to their specific complaints and their ability to select the complaints of most importance to them.

Beurskens AJ, de Vet H, Koke A, et al. A patient-specific approach for measuring functional status in low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, March/April 1999:22(3), pp144-148.
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Chiropractic Research Review

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