Assessment of functional status, low back disability, and use of diagnostic imaging in patients with low back pain and radiating leg pain

Xinhua S. Ren, Alfredo J. Selim, Graeme Fincke, Richard A. Deyo, Mark Linzer, Austin Lee, Lewis Kazis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyzed data from outpatients with chronic low back pain (LBP) in the Veterans Health Study (n = 563) to examine the relationship between localized LBP intensity and radiating leg pain in assessing patient functional status, low back disability, and use of diagnostic imaging. Based on the localized LBP intensity, the study subjects were divided into tertiles (low, moderate, and high intensity). The study subjects were also stratified by the extent of radiating leg pain. Using analysis of variance and multiple regression analysis, we compared the relative importance of localized LBP intensity and radiating leg pain in explaining the variability in the means of the SF-36 scales and low back disability days, and in the proportion of patients who had used diagnostic imaging. The results of the study indicate that measures of localized LBP intensity and radiating leg pain contribute separately to the assessment of patient functional status, low back disability, and use of diagnostic imaging. These results suggest that localized LBP intensity and radiating leg pain may represent two different approaches in assessing back pain severity. Future epidemiological and health services research should consider both measures in assessing the impact of LBP on patient functional status, low back disability, and use of diagnostic imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1071
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume52
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study is supported by a grant (SDR No. 91-006.S) from Health Services Research and Development of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, and in part by a grant (HS 08194) from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. We thank our colleagues in the Veterans Health Study and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.

Keywords

  • Functional status
  • Localized low back pain
  • Low back disability
  • Radiating leg pain
  • Use of diagnostic imaging

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