Examination of the Course of Low Back Pain Intensity Based on Baseline Predictors and Health Care Utilization Among Patients Treated in Multidisciplinary Pain Clinics: A Quebec Pain Registry Study

Pain Med. 2019 Mar 1;20(3):564-573. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny205.


Objectives: The study objectives were to identify baseline predictors of low back pain severity changes over a one-year period among patients attending multidisciplinary tertiary clinics and determine whether health care utilization impacts this outcome.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study using the Quebec Pain Registry (QPR). A total of 686 low back pain (LBP) patients (55.8% females, mean age = 56.51 ± 14.5 years) from the QPR were selected for this study. Patients completed self-report questionnaires and nurse-administered questionnaires before their first appointment at a multidisciplinary pain treatment center. Analysis was conducted using a linear growth model.

Results: There was a modest (10%) improvement in pain severity scores over a 12-month period. Pain catastrophizing and depressive symptoms predicted higher baseline levels of pain severity (P < 0.001). Having used self-management approaches over the past six months was associated with higher levels of pain severity at 12 months (P < 0.001).

Discussion: Results from this study showed no clear pattern of association between the use of different treatment disciplines and pain severiy over the first year after multidisciplinary treatment intervention. These results raise an important question as to the best way of utilizing scarce multidisciplinary resources to optimize cost-effectiveness and improve outcomes among complex, chronic LBP patients.

Keywords: Health Care Utilization; Low Back Pain; Quebec Pain Registry; Tertiary Care; Treatment Response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Clinics
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Quebec
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome*