Poor outcome in patients with spine-related leg or arm pain who are involved in compensation claims: a prospective study of patients in the secondary care sector

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether poor outcome after spinal pain episodes is linked with the claim process and, if so, whether this link is independent of other potential risk factors of chronic pain and disability in patients with spine-related leg or arm pain. METHODS: A 1-year prospective outcome study with internal control groups in two Danish secondary care, public, multidisciplinary, non-surgical spine clinics. Patients with low back pain (LBP) radiating to the leg (n = 1243) or with neck and arm pain thought to emanate from the neck (n = 202) were referred to the clinics by their general practitioners. Rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and nurses examined, treated, and informed the patients based on cognitive principles. Follow-up data were collected with a postal questionnaire. Claim, defined as seeking some sort of financial compensation or filing any sort of financial claim, such as workers' compensation, was the main independent variable. Potential confounders examined were: age, sex, social class, smoking, duration and severity of pain and disability. The main outcome measures were: global assessment (main outcome variable), pain, disability, and intake of analgesics. RESULTS: Financial claims were registered by 31% of patients. After adjustment for covariates, the odds ratio for claim and no improvement was calculated to be 4.2 (95% CI 2.8-6.2) for the LBP/leg patients and 17.4 (95% CI 5.1-60.1) for the neck/arm patients. CONCLUSION: A claim for financial compensation is strongly and independently linked with a poor prognosis for Danish patients with pain radiating from the low-back or neck.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Volume37
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)462-8
Number of pages6
ISSN0300-9742
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Keywords

  • Adult
  • Compensation and Redress
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neck Pain
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

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