Skip to main content

Table 3 Key study characteristics and results

From: Can screening instruments accurately determine poor outcome risk in adults with recent onset low back pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Reference Country of investigation and clinical setting Definition of poor outcome N at baseline, (n at follow-up, % at follow-up) Discrimination (AUC (95% confidence interval))
STarT Back Screening Tool
 Beneciuk et al. 2012 [43] USA
Outpatient physiotherapy clinics
At 6 months:
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability (ODI score ≥ 30%)
73 (55, 75.3%) aPain 0.61 (0.45–0.76)
aDisability 0.75 (0.60–0.90)
 Field & Newell, 2012 [44] UK
Chiropractic clinics
At 90 days:
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
477 (151, 31.7%) aPain 0.597 (0.499–0.694)
 Hill et al. 2008 [46] UK
General practice clinics
6 months:
RMDQ score ≥ 7
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability ≥ 30% RMDQ
177 at follow-up. (N at baseline not specified aPain 0.70 (0.62–0.88)
aDisability 0.81 (0.75–0.88)
 Kongsted et al. 2015 [38] Denmark
Chiropractic clinics
3 months:
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability ≥ 30% RMDQ
754 (604, 80.1%) aPain 0.56 (0.49–0.60)
aDisability 0.67 (0.62–0.73)
 Newell et al. 2014 [45] UK
Chiropractic clinics
At 90 days:
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
284 (192, 67.6%) aPain 0.59 (0.48–0.69)
Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire; Acute Low Back Pain Screening Questionnaire
 Gabel et al. 2011 [39] Australia
Physiotherapy outpatient clinics
At 6 months:
Functional status ≥ 10%
Problem severity > 1
Absenteeism > 0 days
Long term absenteeism > 28 days
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability (SFI score ≥ 30%)
66 (58, 87.9%)
(OMPSQ - Original)
Functional status 0.88 (0.78–0.99)
Problem severity 0.85 (0.72–0.97)
Absenteeism 0.86 (0.76–0.96)
Long-term absenteeism 0.85 (0.73–0.96)
aPain 0.84 (0.71–0.97)
aDisability 0.80 (0.67–0.92)
 Grotle et al. 2006 [25] Norway
General practitioner/Chiropractor/Physiotherapy clinics
(27% recruited through advertisement)
At 6 & 12 months:
Pain NRS score ≥ 3
Disability (RMDQ score > 4)
Sick leave (> 30 days)
123 (112, 91.1%) Pain 0.62 (0.51–0.73)
Disability 0.68 (0.56–0.80)
Sick leave 0.80 (0.66–0.93)
 Heneweer et al. 2007 [66] Netherlands
Physiotherapy clinics
Not recovered at 12 weeks
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability QBPDS ≥ 30%)
66 (56, 84.8%) Non-recovery 0.64 (0.5–0.79)
aPain 0.64 (0.50–0.78)
aDisability 0.67 (0.54–0.8)
 Jellema et al. 2007 [52] Netherlands
General practice clinics
12 months: score of ‘slightly improved’ or worse at two or more follow-up time points 314 (296, 94.3%) Non-recovery 0.61 (0.54–0.67)
 Law et al. 2013 [37] China
Physiotherapy clinics in public hospitals
12 months post discharge: Failure to return to work
Prolonged sick leave (> 30 days)
241 (220, 91.3%) Return to work 0.69 (0.62–0.76)
Prolonged sick leave 0.71 (0.64–0.78)
 Nonclercq et al. 2012 [42] Belgium
Emergency facility or outpatient clinic
At 6 months:
Pain index score > 16
ODI ≥ 20%
Functional index < 45
Work absence > 30 days
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability ≥ 30% ODI
91 (73, 80%) Pain 0.73 (no confidence intervals)
Functional index 0.79 (no confidence intervals)
Absenteeism 0.83 (standard error 0.71)
Disability 0.75 (no confidence intervals)
aPain 0.70 (standard error 0.66)
aDisability 0.72 (standard error 0.86)
 Schmidt et al. 2016 [48] Germany
General practice clinics
6 months:
Disability ≥ 4/11 (dichotomised mean response to three GCPS disability items)
181 (112, 62%) Disability (OMPSQ scale sum score) 0.79 (0.67–0.90)
Disability (OMPSQ item sum score) 0.77 (0.66–0.87)
Vermont Disability Prediction Questionnaire
 Hazard et al. 1996 [49] USA
Vermont Department of Labour and Industry database
Not returned to work at 3 months 166 (163, 98%) Return to work 0.92 (no confidence interval or standard error reported)
 Hazard et al. 1997 [50] USA
Vermont Department of Labour and Industry database
Not returned to work at 3 months 304 (268, 88.2%) Return to work 0.78 (no confidence interval or standard error reported)
Absenteeism Screening Questionnaire
 Truchon et al. 2012 [51] Canada
Quebec Workers Compensation Board database
12 months:
Absenteeism > 182 cumulative days
535 (310, 58%) Absenteeism 0.73 (no confidence intervals or standard error reported)
Chronic Pain Risk Score
 Turner et al. 2013 [61] USA
Primary care
4 months
Pain grades 3 & 4
aPain NRS ≥ 3
458 (425, 92.8%) Pain grades 3 & 4 0.67 (0.59–0.72)
aPain 0.67 (0.59–0.72)
Back Disability Risk Questionnaire
 Shaw et al. 2009 [40] USA
Occupational health clinics
3 months:
Pain ≥ 5
Disability ≥ 50%
aPain NRS score ≥ 3
aDisability ≥ 30% RMDQ
568 (519, 91.4%) aPain 0.61 (0.56–0.66)
aDisability 0.66 (0.62–0.70)
Hancock Clinical Prediction Rule
 Williams et al. 2014 [41] Australia
General practice clinics, Pharmacists or physiotherapy clinics
3 months:
No sustained recovery (0 or 1/10 on a NRS for 7 consecutive days)
aPain NRS ≥ 3
956 (937, 82%) Sustained recovery 0.60 (0.56–0.64)
aPain 0.62 (0.60–0.65)
  1. aUnpublished data for ‘recent onset’ participants, provided on request
  2. NRS numeric rating scale, ODI Oswestry Disability Index, RMDQ Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, SFI Spine Functional Index, QBPDS Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale, GCPS Graded Chronic Pain Scale, OMPSQ Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire