A clinical return-to-work rule for patients with back pain

06/03/05

Nonspecific back pain is one of the most frequent complaints in the primary care setting and the main cause of work absence and disability in our society. Dionne and colleagues have developed a 7-question clinical algorithm to determine the likelihood of patients with nonspecific back pain returning to work with durable good results. Clinicians can use this tool to help decide whether a patient would benefit from conservative management or might require further interventions. Use of the algorithm may help to reduce unnecessary clinical interventions and associated costs.

In a related commentary, Maher points out that Dionne and colleagues' algorithm is much better at predicting a good outcome than a poor outcome and is only somewhat more reliable than some of the guidelines already in use. Maher suggests that more research is needed to assess the use of this tool in determining the best treatment option for patients.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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