• Does a patient's physical activity predict recovery from an episode of acute low back pain? A prospective cohort study

      Hendrick, Paul; Milosavljevic, Stephan; Hale, Leigh; Hurley, Deirdre A; McDonough, Suzanne M; Herbison, Peter; Baxter, G David (2013-04-05)
      Abstract Background Advice to remain active and normalisation of activity are commonly prescribed in the management of low back pain (LBP). However, no research has assessed whether objective measurements of physical activity predict outcome and recovery in acute low back pain. Method The aims of this study were to assess the predictive relationship between activity and disability at 3 months in a sub-acute LBP population. This prospective cohort study recruited 101 consenting patients with sub-acute LBP (< 6 weeks) who completed the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), the Visual Analogue Scale, and resumption of full ‘normal’ activity question (Y/N), at baseline and 3 months. Physical activity was measured for 7 days at both baseline and at 3 months with an RT3 accelerometer and a recall questionnaire. Results Observed and self-reported measures of physical activity at baseline and change in activity from baseline to 3 months were not independent predictors of RMDQ (p > 0.05) or RMDQ change (p > 0.05) over 3 months. A self-report of a return to full ‘normal’ activities was significantly associated with greater RMDQ change score at 3 months (p < 0.001). Paired t-tests found no significant change in activity levels measured with the RT3 (p = 0.57) or the recall questionnaire (p = 0.38) from baseline to 3 months. Conclusions These results question the predictive role of physical activity in LBP recovery, and the assumption that activity levels change as LBP symptoms resolve. The importance of a patient’s perception of activity limitation in recovery from acute LBP was also highlighted. Trial registration Clinical Trial Registration Number, ACTRN12609000282280
    • The effectiveness of a stratified group intervention using the STarTBack screening tool in patients with LBP - a non randomised controlled trial

      Murphy, Susan E; Blake, Catherine; Power, Camillus K; Fullen, Brona M (2013-12-05)
      Abstract Background Low back pain (LBP) is costly to society and improving patient outcomes is a priority. Stratifying LBP patients into more homogenous groups is advocated to improve patient outcome. The STarT Back tool, a prognostic screening tool has demonstrated efficacy and greater cost effectiveness in physiotherapy settings. The management of LBP patients in groups is common but to date the utility of the STarT Back tool in group settings has not been explored. The aim of this study is to determine if the implementation of ‘stratified care’ when delivered in a group setting will lead to significantly better physical and psychological outcomes and greater cost effectiveness in LBP patients compared to a bestcare historical control group. Methods/Design This study is a non randomised controlled trial. Low back pain patients recruited from the Waterford Primary Care area (population = 47,000) will be stratified into low, medium or high risk of persisting symptoms using the STarT Back Tool. Low risk patients will be offered a single one off education/exercise class offering positive messages on LBP management in line with recommended guidelines. Medium risk patients will be offered a 12 week group exercise/education intervention addressing their dominant physical obstacles to recovery. A 12 week group cognitive behavioural approach will be delivered to the high risk patients, characterised by the presence of high levels of psychosocial prognostic factors. These patients will be compared with a historical control group where therapists were blinded as to the risk stratification of patients and a generic group intervention was delivered to all patients, irrespective of their initial risk stratification. The primary outcome measure will be disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire). Secondary outcomes will include back pain intensity (Visual Analogue Scale), distress (Distress and Risk Assessment Method), back beliefs (Back Beliefs Questionnaire), health status (Euroqol), global benefit (7 point likert scale), satisfaction (7 point likert scale), cost effectiveness and functional status. Outcome will be measured at baseline, 12 weeks and 6 months. Discussion This paper details the rationale, design, methods, planned analysis and operational aspects of a study examining the utility of the STarT Back Tool as a ‘stratification tool for targeted treatment’ in a group intervention. Trial registration Current controlled trials: ACTRN12613000431729.
    • Inflammatory back pain in psoriatic arthritis is significantly more responsive to corticosteroids compared to back pain in ankylosing spondylitis: a prospective, open-labelled, controlled pilot study

      Haroon, Muhammad; Ahmad, Muddassar; Baig, Muhammad N; Mason, Olivia; Rice, John; FitzGerald, Oliver (2018-04-17)
      Abstract Background The efficacy of corticosteroids in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and inflammatory back pain has not been studied to date. In this controlled trial, we aimed to investigate the comparative performance of corticosteroids in patients with active axial-PsA (AxPsA) versus those with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Methods Patients with AxPsA and AS (naïve to biologic therapies), who not only had clinically active disease, but also had bone marrow oedema on magnetic resonance imaging of the sacroiliac joints, were recruited. Clinically active disease was defined as inflammatory back pain (fulfilling Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS) expert criteria), with spinal pain score (numerical rating scale 0–10) ≥4 and Bath AS Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) score ≥4 despite taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Moreover, we recruited a control group of patients with non-inflammatory lower back pain. All patients received a single, intra-muscular dose of depot corticosteroid injection (triamcinolone acetonide 80 mg) at baseline. The intra-muscular corticosteroid option was used to overcome any drug compliance issues. Clinical outcome assessments were made at the following time points: baseline, week 2, and week 4. The primary efficacy end point was mean change in Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) at week 2. Key secondary outcomes were mean change in the BASDAI, Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI) and Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life (ASQoL) at weeks 2 and 4. Results In total, 40 patients were recruited (15 with AxPsA, 15 with AS, and 10 controls). At week 2 following corticosteroid treatment, patients with AxPsA had significantly greater improvement in the mean ASDAS compared to patients with AS (1.43 ± 0.39 vs. 1.03 ± 0.30, p = 0.004), and also when compared to controls (p < 0.001). At week-4, similar significant trend of ASDAS improvement was seen among AxPsA patients compared to AS patients (1.09 ± 0.32 vs. 0.77 ± 0.27, p = 0.007) and controls (p < 0.001). Similarly, the mean BASDAI, visual analogue scale spinal pain score, ASQoL and BASFI improved significantly among patients with AxPsA compared to patients with AS and controls at week 2 (p < 0.05), with this trend also largely maintained at week 4. Conclusions Axial inflammation in patients with PsA responds significantly better to corticosteroids than in patients with AS. This furthers the argument and adds to the growing evidence that AxPsA and AS are distinct entities.
    • An unexpected cause of sacroiliitis in a patient with gout and chronic psoriasis with inflammatory arthritis: a case report

      Alqatari, Safi; Visevic, Roberta; Marshall, Nina; Ryan, John; Murphy, Grainne (2018-04-20)
      Abstract Background Inflammatory back pain is a condition characterized by inflammation of the sacroiliac joints and lower spine. It is frequently seen in patients with spondyloarthropathies like ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis and reactive arthritis. Inflammatory back pain can be caused by many other conditions like infection and crystal deposition such as gout. In this case, it is difficult to specifically identify gout as a cause by ordinary imaging like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound. Case presentation This case report describes a young man with severe psoriasis, presumptive psoriatic spondyloarthropathy and chronic extensive tophaceous gout which was difficult to treat because of non-compliance with medications and lifestyle. He presented with inflammatory type low back and buttocks pain with raised inflammatory markers. MRI of the lower back and sacroiliac joints showed features of active sacroiliitis. He was subsequently treated with a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) alpha inhibitor for presumed axial psoriatic arthritis and had no significant benefit. Two attempts DECT of the lumbar spine was not executed correctly. CT lumbar spine and SIJs showed L2/3 endplate and left SIJ erosions mostly related to gout. Rasburicase was introduced. The tophi decreased in size peripherally with marginal improvement in back pain. From this study, we want to bring to the attention of physicians that gout can lead to back pain with inflammatory changes on MRI. We also want to address the importance of other imaging modalities if the cause of the back pain is not clear. Conclusion This case is meant to highlight an important but overlooked cause of active sacroililitis and inflammatory type back pain in patients who have gout, and to bring to the attention that plain X-ray, MRI and ultrasound cannot differentiate between inflammatory sacroiliitis caused by seronegative arthritis versus gouty arthritis. CT scan can add more information but DECT is the preferred method for differentiation and identification of axial tophaceous gout.
    • Using mixed methods to assess fidelity of delivery and its influencing factors in a complex self-management intervention for people with osteoarthritis and low back pain.

      Toomey, Elaine; Matthews, James; Hurley, Deirdre A (BMJ open, 2017-08-04)
      Despite an increasing awareness of the importance of fidelity of delivery within complex behaviour change interventions, it is often poorly assessed. This mixed methods study aimed to establish the fidelity of delivery of a complex self-management intervention and explore the reasons for these findings using a convergent/triangulation design.