The Ausback study: an audit of low back pain outcomes in Australian musculoskeletal medicine practices

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Masters, Scott
Yelland, Michael
Sweeting, Kent
Schluter, Phillip
Harding, Geoff
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Background: The major influences on musculoskeletal medicine practitioners in Australia in the last 20 years have been from an eclectic mix of local and international experts and evidence from many disciplines. This has resulted in practitioners with a multimodal approach that combines evidence with pragmatism. The effectiveness of this combined approach on Australian patients with low back pain needs testing to see if it has broader application. Objectives: This study aimed to measure the effectiveness of a multimodal approach practiced by musculoskeletal medicine practitioners in a private clinic setting supported by a referral network of allied health professionals. Patients and Methods: This non-randomised, non-consecutive audit comprised 75 patients with low back pain with or without leg pain from three musculoskeletal medicine practices in Queensland, Australia. Pain, disability, general health and global response were followed in participants for 6 months. Results: For this cohort, the mean ᠓D age was 45 ᠹears and the median duration of low back pain was 4 years (IQR, 0.5-8 years). The follow-up rate at 6 months was 75%. Clinically and statistically significant reductions in mean scores from baseline to 6 months were noted for pain from 5.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.0-6.0) to 2.9 (95% CI, 2.3-3.5) at 6 months and for Roland-Morris disability questionnaire from 12.2 (95% CI, 11.0-13.3) to 7.7 (95% CI, 6.2-9.2). At 6 months, 51% were much improved or very much improved. Better reductions in pain and disability were noted in subgroups that were not working, that had pain duration up to 3 months and a past history of one to two episodes of low back pain. Conclusions: The improvements in pain and disability at 6 months observed in this study were similar to those observed for other conservative treatment methods for chronic low back pain.

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International Musculoskeletal Medicine

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© 2010 Maney Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.

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