Welcome back to SpineIQ’s Back Blog! Dr. Goertz releases a list every year of the twelve research studies that she and her team have carefully reviewed for clinical relevance. Over the next two weeks, we will be featuring a study each day as Spine IQ celebrates the “Twelve Days of Research.” Each blog post will include an easy link to a featured article. We look forward to seeing if your takeaway messages are the same as ours! We would love to hear from you if you had similar or different interpretations of the studies. Are you one of those people who can’t wait until tomorrow to read the next research study? You can also get the complete list of studies by clicking here.

Study 1: “Risk factors associated with transition from acute to chronic low back pain in US patients seeking primary care” by Stevans et al.

This study investigated whether the type of care given for acute low back pain influenced prognosis and chronicity of low back pain. Imagine how powerful this information can be even if only a small percentage of patients were prevented from becoming CHRONIC! The human pain and suffering as well as the economic and productivity influence and impact. 5,233 acute low back pain patients were followed for 6 months and a third of patients transitioned to chronic low back pain. There were several factors associated with this transition including: scoring high risk on the startback screening tool (145% likelier compared to low risk), obesity (52% likelier compared to not obese), diagnosed depression/anxiety (66% likelier compared to no diagnosis of depression/anxiety), and receiving one (39% more likely compared to none), two (88% more likely compared to none), or three (116% more likely compared to none) treatments that are not concordant with clinical practice guidelines. The key takeaway messages from this article are that many factors may influence a patient’s prognosis and risk of chronicity with some factors being influenced by the clinician, such as what type of care is given and whether it is concordant with guidelines. The “type” of care is being acknowledged across the research community and future analysis will have a huge impact on the determination of what “type” of care is recommended by payors. Full study available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2776518