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Open Access Research

The Nordic maintenance care program: the clinical use of identified indications for preventive care

Iben Axén* and Lennart Bodin

Author Affiliations

Intervention & Implementation Research, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 13, Stockholm, 171 77, Sweden

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Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013, 21:10  doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-10

Published: 6 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Low back pain (LBP) is a prevalent condition and has been found to be recurrent and persistent in a majority of cases. Chiropractors have a preventive strategy, maintenance care (MC), aimed towards minimizing recurrence and progression of such conditions. The indications for recommending MC have been identified in the Nordic countries from hypothetical cases. This study aims to investigate whether these indications are indeed used in the clinical encounter.

Methods

Data were collected in a multi-center observational study in which patients consulted a chiropractor for their non-specific LBP. Patient baseline information was a) previous duration of the LBP, b) the presence of previous episodes of LBP and c) early improvement with treatment. The chiropractors were asked if they deemed each individual patient an MC candidate. Logistic regression analyses (uni– and multi-level) were used to investigate the association of the patient variables with the chiropractor’s decision.

Results

The results showed that “previous episodes” with LBP was the strongest predictor for recommending MC, and that the presence of all predictors strengthens the frequency of this recommendation. However, there was considerable heterogeneity among the participating chiropractors concerning the recommendation of MC.

Conclusions

The study largely confirms the clinical use of the previously identified indications for recommending MC for recurrent and persistent LBP. Previous episodes of LBP was the strongest indicator.