The clinical back pain courses described by information available in Danish central registries

Maria Iachina*, Olav S. Garvik, Pernille S. Ljungdalh, Mette Wod, Berit Schiøttz-Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Patients with back pain are often in contact with 2–4 hospital departments when receiving a back pain diagnosis and treatment. This complicates the entire clinical course description. There is, currently, no model that describes the course across departments for patients with back pain. This study aims to construct an interdisciplinary clinical course using the central register’s information. Methods: All patients with back pain referred for diagnosis and treatment at the Spine Center of Southern Denmark from 1 January 2011 until 31 December 2017 were included. By means of information available in central registers, we described the interdisciplinary clinical course for the individual patient, including information on all contacts at different departments, and proposed three different models to define the index and final date. The index date was defined as the first visit without a previous contact to the Spine Center for 6 months for model I, 1 year for model II, and 2 years for model III. The final date was defined as the last visit without following contacts for 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, respectively, for models I, II, and III. Results: A total of 69,564 patients (male: n = 30,976) with back pain diagnosis were identified. The three models all leave the information on the entire course at the hospital. In model I (64,757 clinical back pain courses), the time span to a possible previous clinical course is too short to secure the start of a new course (14% had two or more). With at least 1 year between a possible previous contact, model II (60,914 courses) fits the everyday clinical practice (9% had two or more clinical back pain courses). In model III (60,173 courses) it seems that two independent courses might be connected in the same course as only 5% had two or more clinical back pain courses. Conclusions: Despite contact with different departments, the clinical course for back pain patients can be described by information from the central registers. A one-year time interval fits best the clinicians’ everyday observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 6. Jan 2022


  • Back pain
  • Hospital departments
  • Registries
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Back Pain/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Low Back Pain/diagnosis


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