Sex differences in presentation, course, and management of low back pain in primary care

2008 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

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​Sex differences in presentation, course, and management of low back pain in primary care​
Chenot, J.-F.; Becker, A.; Leonhardt, C.; Keller, S.; Donner-Banzhoff, N.; Hildebrandt, J. & Basler, H.-D. et al.​ (2008) 
Clinical Journal of Pain24(7) pp. 578​-584​.​ DOI: 

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Chenot, Jean-Francois; Becker, Annette; Leonhardt, Corinna; Keller, Stefan; Donner-Banzhoff, Norbert; Hildebrandt, Jan; Basler, Heinz-Dieter; Baum, Erika; Kochen, Michael M. ; Pfingsten, Michael
Objective: Epidemiologic surveys frequently show that women more often and are more affected by low back pain (LBP). The aim of this secondary analysis of a randomized controlled study was to explore whether presentation and course of LBP of women is different from men, and if sex affects the use of healthcare services for LBP. Methods: Data from 1342 [778 (58%) women] patients presenting with LBP in 116 general practices were collected. Patients completed standardized questionnaires before and after consultation and were contacted by phone 4 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months later for standardized interviews by study nurses. Functional capacity was assessed with Hannover Functional Ability Questionnaire (HFAQ). Logistic regression models-adjusting for sociodemographic and disease-related data-were conducted to investigate the effect of sex for the use of healthcare services. Results: Women had on average a lower functional capacity at baseline and after 12 months. They were more likely to have recurrent or chronic LBP and to have a positive depression score. Being female was associated with a low functional capacity after 12 months (odds ratio: 1.7, 95% confidence interval: 1.2-2.3), but baseline functional capacity, chronicity, and depression were stronger predictors. In univariate analysis, women had a tendency of higher use of healthcare services. Those differences disappeared after adjustment. Discussion: Our findings confirm that women are more severely affected by LBP and have a worse prognosis. Utilization of healthcare services cannot be fully explained by female sex, but . rather by a higher impairment by back pain and pain in other parts of the body characteristic of the female population.
Issue Date
Clinical Journal of Pain 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 
German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) [01EM0113]



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