|Current evidence for diagnosis of common conditions causing low back pain: A systematic review and standardized terminology recommendations
from Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate and summarize current evidence for diagnosis of common conditions causing low back pain and to propose standardized terminology use.
A systematic review of the scientific literature was conducted from inception through December 2018. Electronic databases searched included PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane, and Index to Chiropractic Literature. Methodological quality was assessed with the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network checklists.
Of the 3,995 articles screened, 36 (8 systematic reviews and 28 individual studies) met final eligibility criteria. Diagnostic criteria for identifying likely discogenic, sacroiliac joint, and zygapophyseal (facet) joint pain are supported by clinical studies using injection-confirmed tissue provocation or anesthetic procedures. Diagnostic criteria for myofascial pain, sensitization (central and peripheral), and radicular pain are supported by expert consensus–level evidence. Criteria for radiculopathy and neurogenic claudication are supported by studies using combined expert-level consensus and imaging findings.
The absence of high-quality, objective, gold-standard diagnostic methods limits the accuracy of current evidence-based criteria and results in few high-quality studies with a low risk of bias in patient selection and reference standard diagnosis. These limitations suggest practitioners should use evidence-based criteria to inform working diagnoses rather than definitive diagnoses for low back pain. To avoid the unnecessary complexity and confusion created by multiple overlapping and nonspecific terms, adopting International Association for the Study of Pain terminology and definitions is recommended.
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