Chemeris, N. (2007). Prevalence and recovery rate of low back pain and leg pain in osteopathic practice. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
A retrospective survey of all new patients with low back pain and/or leg pain treated in a provincial multipractitioner osteopathic practice over five year period (2000-2004).
The Osteopathic Clinic, a multi-practitioner practice in a rural community in Tauranga, New Zealand
Clinical notes of all consecutive new patients to the practice with low back and/or referred leg pain
1801 patients’ records were selected for the study. Data on age, gender, occupation, pain duration, treatment response and duration, as well as past history of back trouble, insurance contribution and treating practitioner were manually searched for in the patients’ paper notes and recorded into a computer database. A comparative analysis was performed for low back pain and referred leg pain groups.
The prevalence of mechanical LBP was 38.13% of all new patients, lower leg pain 10.38% of patients with LBP and 3.96% of all new patients during 5 years. Significant differences were found in the mean age, pain duration, SLR test, recovery rate and outcomes between the groups. Compared to back pain without leg pain patients with referred leg pain had older mean age (47 vs.42), higher frequency of positive SLR test (2.5% vs. 15% of documented tests), less favourable outcome (39% vs. 20.9% completely recovered) and longer duration of treatment in the acute stage (58% needing less than 3 sessions as opposed to 42.8%). For chronic patients the differences were not significant. No difference in ACC insurance co-payments, history of previous episode or occupation was observed between the groups. The majority of patients reported improvement or recovery during the osteopathic treatment, the mean number of visits was lower than in reported chiropractic surveys.
Referred leg pain is a complicating factor for mechanical low back pain. The prevalence of leg pain confirmed the data published in New Zealand for the general population, but was lower than in published osteopathic literature in the UK. Both LBP and leg pain groups improved during osteopathic care, but more patients with leg pain had less favourable outcome and required longer treatments. The difference wasn’t significant for chronic LBP and leg pain groups
low back pain, sciatica, manual therapy, osteopathic medicine
ANZSRC Field of Research:
110499 Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
Master of Osteopathy (School of Health Science), Unitec Institute of Technology
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