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Treatment Preferences for Chronic Low Back Pain: Views of Veterans and Their Providers.

Belitskaya-Levy I, Clark JD, Shih MC, Bair MJ. Treatment Preferences for Chronic Low Back Pain: Views of Veterans and Their Providers. Journal of pain research. 2021 Jan 27; 14:161-171.

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Purpose: This study was conducted to characterize chronic low back pain (cLBP) and to identify treatment histories and preferences for cLBP management among Veterans and primary care providers within the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. Participants and Methods: Veterans with cLBP from five geographically diverse VA medical centers were identified using International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 9 and 10 codes from VA administrative data as were primary care providers at these same sites. From these data, Veterans (200/per site) and providers (160/per site) were selected and mailed surveys. Open-ended interview data were collected from a subset of Veterans and providers. Results: In total, 235 Veterans and 67 providers returned completed surveys. More than 80% of the Veteran respondents had daily back pain for more than 1 year. Most Veterans had tried several treatments for their pain with medications and physical therapy being the most commonly used. Veterans and providers had similar attitudes towards many cLBP treatments with the exception of psychological therapies that were more favored by providers. Open-ended interview data showed that Veterans and providers emphasized the need for multi-component approaches to treatment. Conclusion: Among Veterans, cLBP is typically of sustained duration, is relatively severe, and also interferes significantly with normal functioning. Veterans are experienced with respect to treatments and had similar attitudes towards many cLBP treatments as their providers, especially tailored approaches.

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