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Table 4 Medical Management during Patient Visits in which Low Back Pain was the Primary Reason for Seeking Care, 2003–2004 (n = 1,042)*

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

      Chronicity   
  LBP Visits Acute Problem
(Initial Visit)
Chronic Problem
(Follow-Up Visit)
Chronic Problem Visits
Medical Management n NPE SE % n NPE SE % n NPE SE % OR 95% CI
Diagnostic tests               
   Complete blood count 52 2,663 416 6 12 525 197 5 19 1,165 265 6 1.32 0.52-3.37
   Urinalysis 69 3,243 456 8 39 1,754 359 16 10 613 161 3 0.18 0.09-0.37
   Radiograph 142 5,602 634 13 57 2,385 406 21 24 830 195 4 0.17 0.09-0.32
   Other imaging test† 83 2,434 345 6 24 632 146 6 29 904 191 5 0.83 0.44-1.58
   Any diagnostic test 926 37,683 2,608 89 244 10,807 809 97 396 15,734 1,419 83 0.14 0.04-0.49
Patient counseling               
   Diet or nutrition 75 3,335 602 8 15 734 196 7 40 1,688 488 9 1.38 0.58-3.32
   Weight reduction 49 2,232 529 5 10 504 183 5 25 1,143 384 6 1.35 0.52-3.49
   Exercise 204 8,320 1,070 20 49 2,196 391 20 95 3,979 771 21 1.08 0.63-1.85
   Mental health counseling‡ 45 1,859 639 4 5 240 124 2 31 1,176 525 6 3.00 0.94-9.61
   Any patient counseling 513 22,397 2,510 53 119 5,408 563 49 224 10,138 1,956 54 1.21 0.70-2.11
Drugs               
   Non-narcotic analgesics 58 2,492 431 6 13 669 201 6 29 1,351 301 7 1.20 0.51-2.82
   Narcotic analgesics 261 10,503 1,128 25 56 2,385 444 21 141 5,355 758 28 1.44 0.76-2.72
   NSAIDs (including antiarthritics) 333 14,237 1,180 34 113 5,497 596 49 128 5,288 667 28 0.40 0.25-0.64
   Any drug 729 30,523 2,012 72 204 9,746 798 88 316 12,703 1,233 67 0.29 0.13-0.62
Physiotherapy§ 179 8,596 2,135 20 32 1,408 325 13 88 4,866 1,887 26 2.38 0.93-6.07
Surgical procedure 59 1,932 407 5 2 51 35 0 27 1,042 304 6 12.62 3.18-50.07
Total 1,042 42,427 3,108 100 253 11,111 798 100 457 18,948 2,154 100   ...
  1. Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; LBP, low back pain; NPE, national population estimate for the two-year interval; NSAID, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; OR, odds ratio; SE, standard error of the national population estimate.
  2. *Table entries for NPE and SE are in thousands; percentages are based on NPE. NPEs may not be reliable for variables other than any diagnostic test, any patient counseling, any drug, exercise counseling, NSAIDs, and narcotic analgesics because n<30 and/or SE>30% of NPE.
  3. †Excluding mammograms.
  4. ‡Including mental health counseling, stress management, or psychotherapy.
  5. §Including spinal manipulation.