Author(s): Dahl B, Gehrchen PM, Kiaer T, Blyme P, Tndevold E,
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Abstract The Short Form 36 questionnaire (SF-36) measures general health and well-being. Within the last 5 years it has been used increasingly to characterise patients in the medical literature. Relatively few studies have used the SF-36 on patients with chronic low back pain undergoing preoperative evaluation, but results suggest that it may be predictive of surgical outcome. Pain drawings are a routine part of evaluation prior to spinal surgery in several centres, since their classification of organic or nonorganic has been shown in some studies to correlate well with psychological characteristics predicting poor outcome. The purpose of the present study was to assess possible correlations between nonorganic pain drawings and the psychological scales in the SF-36. We included 128 patients in the study, all of them referred from other hospitals. Previous spinal surgery had been undergone by 25\%, and 59\% required daily medication because of low back pain. All patients completed pain drawings using predefined symbols These pain drawings were scored dichotomously as organic or nonorganic based on a brief description of a typical nonorganic characteristics. Patients also completed the Danish version of the SF-36 questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using logistic regression analysis. The pain drawing classification was used as the dependent variable and scores on the eight scales of the SF-36 as independent variables. P values of <0.05 were considered significant. The mean scores of the patient population on all eight scales were significantly lower than Danish norms. The only scales that correlated with the presence of nonorganic pain drawings were emotional role (RE) and mental health (MH), both measuring psychological health. The odds ratio (OR) of receiving a nonorganic pain drawing was 22 (95\% confidence interval, or CI, 7-65) if the scores on RE and MH were more than 2 standard deviations (SD) below the Danish norm. This is the first study providing evidence that pain drawing ratings are influenced by the psychological scales of the SF-36. The clinical relevance of this observation regarding prediction of outcome after spinal surgery should be assessed in future studies.
This article was published in Eur Spine J
and referenced in Journal of Spine