A prospective short-term study of chronic low back pain patients utilizing novel objective functional measurement

Tom G. Mayer, Robert J. Gatchel, Nancy Kishino, Janice Keeley, Holly Mayer, Patricia Capra, Vert Mooney

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Abstract

The present study utilized recently developed diagnostic tests that permit recognition of functional deficits in spine mobility, trunk strength, endurance, coordination, and dynamic lifting capacity. Changes in these tests were compared to changes in psychological functioning (e.g., self-report of pain) as well as to outcome criteria such as return-to-work and resolution of litigation. The study utilized these tests repeatedly during a new treatment approach to feed back objective information of the patient's functional capacity, not amenable to simple visual inspection, to both the patient and the surgeon. The program itself integrated a low back physical rehabilitation program with a multimodal pain management program and was guided by repeated functional capacity measurements. A total of 66 patients were evaluated. Results demonstrated significant improvement in physical function in these patients, which was also accompanied by changes in self-report of pain complaints. Moreover, an 82% return-to-work rate was achieved in this sample which was initially 92% unemployed. These results indicate that the physician dealing with chronic low back dysfunction can employ objective measures of functional capacity as an alternative to the sole reliance on pain patient self-report or structured tests, such as radiographie imaging, which merely document a universal, progressive degenerative process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-68
Number of pages16
JournalPain
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1986

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    Mayer, T. G., Gatchel, R. J., Kishino, N., Keeley, J., Mayer, H., Capra, P., & Mooney, V. (1986). A prospective short-term study of chronic low back pain patients utilizing novel objective functional measurement. Pain, 25(1), 53-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3959(86)90007-2