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Table 3 Patient Visits for Low Back Pain According to Chronicity, 2003–2004 (n = 1,062)*

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

  Chronicity     
  Acute Problem
(Initial Visit)
Chronic Problem
(Follow-Up Visit)
Chronic Problem Visits Primary Chronic Problem Visits†
Characteristic n NPE SE % n NPE SE % OR‡ 95% CI OR‡ 95% CI
Patient age, y             
<25 49 2,012 287 13 26 836§ 197 3 0.27 0.13-0.55 0.20 0.09-0.45
25–44 112 5,351 565 34 195 7,920 907 29 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
45–64 123 5,157 597 33 287 11,025 1,867 40 1.27 0.84-1.93 1.24 0.81-1.91
≥ 65 80 3,237 542 21 190 7,585 1,110 28 1.42 0.84-2.40 1.29 0.66-2.50
Patient sex             
Female 218 9,242 757 59 400 15,815 1,684 58 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Male 146 6,515 775 41 298 11,551 1,463 42 1.17 0.79-1.73 1.22 0.81-1.85
Patient race             
White 329 13,955 966 89 619 24,498 2,821 90 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Non-White 35 1,802 404 11 79 2,867 554 10 1.03 0.60-1.76 0.85 0.45-1.60
Patient ethnicity             
Non-Hispanic 326 14,164 984 90 642 25,299 2,718 92 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Hispanic 38 1,593 334 10 56 2,066 386 8 0.74 0.42-1.32 0.86 0.41-1.77
Geographic region             
Northeast 91 3,494 363 22 211 9,671 2,386 35 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Midwest 76 3,189 495 20 133 3,918 452 14 0.65 0.40-1.08 0.66 0.33-1.32
South 131 5,775 670 37 201 7,569 848 28 0.86 0.52-1.40 0.90 0.51-1.61
West 66 3,299 460 21 153 6,207 1,214 23 1.23 0.62-2.46 1.03 0.45-2.38
MSA status             
MSA 307 13,706 1,113 87 588 24,113 2,917 88 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Non-MSA 57 2,050 572 13 110 3,252 973 12 1.16 0.67-1.99 1.05 0.58-1.92
IPA etiology             
No 224 9,611 860 61 518 20,345 1,874 74 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Yes 140 6,146 586 39 180 7,020 1,350 26 0.46 0.31-0.67 0.49 0.32-0.75
PCP status             
Non-PCP or unknown 170 4,733 518 30 437 13,841 2,151 51 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
PCP 194 11,024 963 70 261 13,524 1,366 49 0.45 0.26-0.79 0.48 0.25-0.90
Type of physician             
Doctor of Medicine 299 13,656 932 87 497 18,256 1,623 67 1.00 ... 1.00  
Doctor of Osteopathy 65 2,101 285 13 201 9,109 2,402 33 4.39 2.47-7.80 4.08 2.26-7.36
Physician specialty             
Family (general) medicine 163 7,990 768 51 227 10,248 1,341 37 0.58 0.31-1.07 0.64 0.31-1.32
Internal medicine 42 3,611 560 23 80 7162§ 2,603 26 0.97 0.48-1.95 0.98 0.40-2.39
Neurology 36 287 63 2 129 1,283 262 5 1.41 0.67-2.94 0.91 0.34-2.45
Orthopedics 44 1,064 166 7 81 2,279 407 8 0.89 0.48-1.65 1.17 0.50-2.73
All other specialties 79 2,804 372 18 181 6,394 1,096 23 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Shared physician care             
No or unknown 283 13,096 1,008 83 448 19,240 2,565 70 1.00 ... 1.00 ...
Yes 81 2,661 401 17 250 8,125 960 30 2.11 1.30-3.44 2.15 1.18-3.93
Total 364 15,757 1,018 100 698 27,365 2,844 100   ...   ...
  1. Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; IPA, injury, poisoning, or adverse effect of medical treatment; MSA, metropolitan statistical area; NPE, national population estimate for the two-year interval; OR, odds ratio; 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. †Includes only patient visits in which low back pain was the primary reason for seeking medical care (n = 710).
  4. ‡Adjusted for all variables shown.
  5. §NPE may be unreliable because n<30 or SE>30% of NPE.