Screening measures and predicting persistent low back pain
Screening measures are commonly used to predict the future implications of an injury for the patient. This meta-analysis of 110 studies looked at commonly used screening measures and noted which ones were validated for predicting risk of developing persistent pain, decreased functional outcomes, as well as absenteeism with work.
Of these outcome measures, the STarT Back Tool, the Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire, and the Vermont Disability Prediction Questionnaire were reviewed. It was concluded that limited evidence exists for predicting those with an overall high risk of developing persistent pain. Moderate evidence was present in predicting longer-term pain-related disability due to the injury. However, the strongest evidence for prediction with these outcome measures was found to be those who will may go on to struggle to returning to work.
Clinicians should be cautioned on assuming a poor score means a risk of developing persistent pain. These commonly used screening measures are more reliable at predicting functional complications associated with pain, as opposed to a predicting a risk of developing persistent pain itself.
> From: Karran et al., BMC Med 15 (2017) 13. All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.