The available evidence on the effectiveness of 10 common approaches to the management of non-specific low back pain: An evidence map

Hazel J. Jenkins, Giovanni Ferreira, Aron Downie, Chris Maher, Rachelle Buchbinder, Mark J. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objective: Low back pain is common and remains one of the leading causes of disability globally. This study aimed to develop an evidence map of the quantity of available evidence assessing approaches to manage low back pain, to identify potential redundancies or gaps in the synthesized data, and guide future research focus. Databases and Data treatment: MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL and CINAHL were searched to March 2022 for systematic reviews assessing the effectiveness of 10 guideline-recommended approaches to manage low back pain. For each management strategy, the number of systematic reviews, date of publication, eligibility criteria and included primary trials were extracted and descriptive data presented. Results: Substantial evidence, including both systematic reviews and primary trials, was available for each management approach except for patient reassurance. The quantity of available evidence has continued to increase over time. Cochrane reviews have been performed for all 10 treatments, except reassurance of the benign nature of low back pain; however, many of the Cochrane reviews were performed prior to 2015. Substantial heterogeneity in the eligibility criteria between systematic reviews exists; however, some age ranges (children and older adults), clinical settings (emergency), and conditions (radiculopathy) were infrequently assessed. Conclusions: Based on systematic reviews, there is a large body of evidence assessing the effectiveness of common approaches to manage low back pain. Justification of the need for further systematic reviews and primary trials should consider the available evidence and is essential to avoid potential research redundancy when investigating effective management of low back pain. Significance: Substantial evidence (systematic reviews and primary trials) exists for 10 approaches to manage low back pain. The quantity of available evidence has continued to increase over time. The quantity and large heterogeneity of inclusion criteria in available systematic reviews may influence conflicting recommendations in clinical practice guidelines. Justification of the need for further systematic reviews and primary trials is essential to avoid potential research redundancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1399-1411
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Volume26
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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