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Table 1 Patient Visits for Low Back Pain According to Importance and Classification of Reason for Visit, 2003–2004 (N = 1,539)*

From: The epidemiology and medical management of low back pain during ambulatory medical care visits in the United States

  Importance of Reason for Visit Reason for Visit Classification Code†
  Primary Secondary or Tertiary 1905 1910
Characteristic n NPE SE % n NPE SE % n NPE SE % n NPE SE %
Patient age, y                 
<25 73 2,828 420 7 42 1,595 316 8 81 3,257 430 8 34 1,167 274 5
25–44 340 14,052 1,194 33 133 5,308 553 28 289 11,598 1,091 30 184 7,763 666 34
45–64 392 16,122 1,796 38 206 7,476 934 39 364 14,192 1,279 36 234 9,406 1,432 41
≥ 65 237 9,424 1,118 22 126 4,910 620 25 249 9,918 1,209 25 114 4,417 655 19
Patient sex                 
Female 589 24,275 1,941 57 319 12,377 875 64 582 23,178 1,852 59 326 13,474 1,074 59
Male 453 18,152 1,716 43 188 6,913 749 36 401 15,786 1,312 41 240 9,279 1,277 41
Patient race                 
White 936 37,791 2,951 89 439 16,567 1,140 86 870 33,905 2,480 87 505 20,453 1,815 90
Non-White 106 4,635 637 11 68 2,724 604 14 113 5,059 924 13 61 2,300 366 10
Patient ethnicity                 
Non-Hispanic 943 38,746 3,055 91 458 17,455 1,155 90 903 36,011 2,604 92 498 20,189 1,821 89
Hispanic 99 3,681 509 9 49 1,836 378 10 80 2,953 484 8 68 2,563 395 11
Geographic region                 
Northeast 292 13,189 2,211 31 149 5,376 760 28 253 10,157 1,582 26 188 8,408 1,689 37
Midwest 222 8,102 1,146 19 107 3,602 400 19 216 7,966 1,170 20 113 3,739 447 16
South 313 11,984 1,319 28 146 5,964 607 31 315 12,592 1,411 32 144 5,356 558 24
West 215 9,152 1,313 22 105 4,348 580 23 199 8,249 1,090 21 121 5,250 683 23
MSA status                 
MSA 861 36,579 3,208 86 432 17,125 1,344 89 815 33,342 2,882 86 478 20,362 2,034 89
Non-MSA 181 5,848 1,653 14 75 2,166 599 11 168 5,623 1,497 14 88 2,391 652 11
Episode of care                 
Initial 351 14,286 1,126 34 158 6,210 614 32 322 13,279 1,093 34 187 7,217 743 32
Follow-up 617 24,754 2,483 58 304 10,893 1,011 56 586 22,309 1,962 57 335 13,338 1,699 59
Other or missing 74 3,387 545 8 45 2,188 373 11 75 3,376 543 9 44 2,198 371 10
Chronicity of symptoms                 
Acute 402 16,819 1,260 40 169 6,632 685 34 360 14,820 1,292 38 211 8,631 712 38
Chronic, routine 398 16,797 2,342 40 211 7,096 845 37 380 14,874 1,685 38 229 9,019 1,603 40
Chronic, flare-up 176 6,494 779 15 79 2,990 404 15 171 6,280 724 16 84 3,203 513 14
Other or missing‡ 66 2,317 402 5 48 2,573 471 13 72 2,990 388 8 42 1,900 340 8
IPA etiology                 
No 722 28,796 2,161 68 341 13,215 1,006 69 698 27,443 2,195 70 365 14,568 1,201 64
Yes 320 13,631 1,449 32 166 6,075 716 31 285 11,522 1,040 30 201 8,185 1,100 36
PCP status                 
Non-PCP or unknown 589 18,744 2,306 44 314 9,241 918 48 532 16,465 1,940 42 371 11,519 1,564 51
PCP 453 23,683 1,845 56 193 10,049 958 52 451 22,499 1,823 58 195 11,233 934 49
Type of physician                 
Doctor of Medicine 782 31,845 2,192 75 407 15,399 1,080 80 762 30,832 2,257 79 427 16,412 1,132 72
Doctor of Osteopathy 260 10,582 2,130 25 100 3,892 600 20 221 8,132 1,434 21 139 6,341 1,631 28
Physician specialty                 
Family (general) medicine 404 18,523 1,737 44 145 6,687 692 35 382 17,484 1,879 45 167 7,725 1,011 34
Internal medicine 107 9,702 2,264 23 54 4,703 1,008 24 96 8,199 1,257 21 65 6,206§ 2,234 27
Neurology 141 1,244 218 3 96 1,011 213 5 132 1,138 181 3 105 1,116 322 5
Orthopedics 151 3,618 546 9 66 2,020 489 10 121 3,025 478 8 96 2,613 505 11
All other specialties 239 9,340 1,278 22 146 4,869 586 25 252 9,118 1,160 23 133 5,092 697 22
Shared physician care                 
No or unknown 715 31,694 2,633 75 336 13,417 1,007 70 690 28,951 2,184 74 361 16,160 1,692 71
Yes 327 10,733 1,017 25 171 5,873 672 30 293 10,013 963 26 205 6,593 703 29
Total 1,042 42,427 3,108 100 507 19,290 1,201 100 983 38,964 2,655 100 566 22,753 1,957 100
  1. Abbreviations: IPA, injury, poisoning, or adverse effect of medical treatment; MSA, metropolitan statistical area; NPE, national population estimate for the two-year interval; PCP, primary care physician, SE, standard error of the national population estimate.
  2. *Table entries for NPE and SE are in thousands; percentages are based on NPE.
  3. †1905 represents back pain and 1910 represents low back pain.
  4. ‡Other options included pre- or post-surgery visits, prenatal care, and health maintenance visits.
  5. §NPE may be unreliable because SE>30% of NPE.