The relationship between Quebec Task Force Classification and outcome in patients with low back pain treated through mechanical diagnosis and therapy

J Man Manip Ther. 2016 Feb;24(1):21-5. doi: 10.1179/2042618614Y.0000000102.


Objective: To determine the correlation between the Quebec Task Force Classification (QTFC) system and outcome in patients with non-specific low back pain (LBP).

Methods: Forty-nine patients who were treated in outpatient physical therapy clinics of Catholic Health System (CHS) of Western New York (WNY) were classified according to the QTFC at the initial examination by physical therapists (PTs) with training in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT). The patient's perceived level of function was assessed with the Focus On Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO) tool at the initial examination, 2 weeks following the initiation of physical therapy and again at discharge.

Results: A linear regression model between acuity and change in FOTO score was performed and demonstrated statistical significance (P<0·05) as the more favorable outcome was found with the more acute patients. Spearman correlations between change in FOTO score and QTFC, duration of treatment and acuity of condition, and number of visits and change in FOTO score were not found to be statistically significant.

Conclusions: The patients treated in this study demonstrated functional improvement in an average of eight visits, indicating efficacious care. Future research is needed to determine prioritized intervention strategies for designated LBP classifications.

Keywords: Low back pain classification; McKenzie; Outcomes.