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Table 3 Exclusion themes and subthemes

From: Inclusion and exclusion criteria used in non-specific low back pain trials: a review of randomised controlled trials published between 2006 and 2012

Themes Subthemes n (%)
1 Back-related condition Spondylolisthesis 35 (21)
Spinal stenosis 31 (18)
Spondylolysis 13 (8)
Ankylosing spondylitisa 8 (5)
Structural deformity 7 (4)
Osteoporotic fracture 6 (4)
Congenital deformation 6 (4)
Disc disease 3 (2)
Sacroiliitis 3 (2)
Severe structural deformity 3 (2)
Scoliosis 2 (1)
Active structural deficit 2 (1)
Severe postural abnormality 2 (1)
2 Specified, unspecified, implied systemic, rheumatologic or immunologic conditions Inflammatory disease 37 (22)
Osteoporosis 27 (16)
Rheumatological disease 13 (8)
Rheumatoid arthritis 12 (7)
Fibromyalgia 9 (5)
Autoimmune disease 4 (2)
Reactive arthritisb 2 (1)
Bone disease 2 (1)
Osteoarthritis 2 (1)
Inflammatory arthritis 1 (1)
Arthritis 1 (1)
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 1 (1)
Myofascial pain syndrome 1 (1)
Articular impairment 1 (1)
3 Psychological Psychiatric disorders 35 (21)
Depression 11 (6)
Severe psychiatric disorder 8 (5)
Impaired cognition 7 (4)
4 Other systemic, unspecified Systemic disease 15 (9)
Metabolic disease 10 (6)
Visceral disease 9 (5)
Endocrine disorder 2 (1)
Uterine disease 1 (1)
Thyroid dysfunction 1 (1)
5 Trauma   63 (37)
6 Malignancy   78 (46)
7 Infectious Infection 42 (25)
Infectious spondylopathy 5 (3)
Infectious disease 4 (2)
Previous infection 1 (1)
Abscess 1 (1)
8 Cardiovascular Cardiac disease /insufficiency 32 (19)
Vascular disease /insufficiency 13 (8)
Hypertension 6 (4)
Ischemic heart attack 2 (1)
Claudication 2 (1)
Aortic aneurysm 1 (1)
9 Haematological Bleeding disorders 5 (3)
Blood coagulation disorder 2 (1)
10 Respiratory Respiratory disease /insufficiency 14 (8)
11 Gastrointestinal, liver or renal Severe renal or hepatic disorder 5 (3)
Liver disease 2 (1)
Gastrointestinal disease 2 (1)
Abdominal hernia 2 (1)
Gastritis 1 (1)
Gastric ulcer 1 (1)
Crohn’s disease 1 (1)
Inguinal hernia 1 (1)
12 Neurological, systemic Myelopathy 2 (1)
Epilepsy 2 (1)
Seizure disorders 1 (1)
Muscular disease 1 (1)
Muscular dystrophy 1 (1)
13 General indications of spinal pathology Pathology or disease “such as” / “e.g” 22 (13)
Specific cause “such as” / “e.g” 22 (13)
Red flags indicating serious spinal pathology 21 (12)
Specific cause identified 14 (8)
Known or suspected serious pathology 10 (6)
Non-mechanical low back pain 1 (1)
14 Neurological related to the back (symptoms or signs or specific conditions referable to involvement of the spinal cord or nerve roots) Nerve root compromise 44 (26)
Neurological signs 34 (20)
Disc herniation 30 (18)
Sciatica 17 (10)
Radicular symptoms 16 (9)
Signs of nerve root irritation 15 (9)
Cauda equina syndrome 14 (8)
Radiation below knee 13 (8)
Radiculopathy 10 (6)
Progressive neurological signs 4 (2)
Radicular pain 4 (2)
Widespread neurological signs 3 (2)
Leg symptoms 3 (2)
Spondylolisthesis with radiculopathy 1 (1)
Cord compression 1 (1)
Paralysis 1 (1)
15 Previous or scheduled surgery   84 (50)
16 Pregnancy-related Pregnancy 81 (48)
Pre-eclampsia 1 (1)
17 Medico-legal issues   39 (23)
18 Comorbidities Comorbidities 2 (1)
Urine or faecal incontinence 1 (1)
19 Exclusion for feasibility Not understanding language 28 (17)
Other current treatment 18 (11)
Previous specific treatment 17 (10)
Medication 13 (8)
Contraindications for intervention 8 (5)
Cardiac pacemaker 6 (4)
Current alcohol abuse 3 (2)
Unable to commit to home-exercises 3 (2)
Fever on the day of examination 3 (2)
History of psychosis 2 (1)
History of alcohol abuse 2 (1)
Presence of yellow flags 1 (1)
20 Miscellaneous Obesity  
 Body Mass Index ≥30 4 (2)
 Body Mass Index ≥40 3 (2)
 Obesity (not specified) 2 (1)
 Body Mass Index ≥35 1 (1)
 Body Mass Index ≥28 1 (1)
Menstruation 1 (1)
Unable to sit on a stationary bike 1 (1)
Bad balance between trunk flexors and extensors 1 (1)
Inability to walk at least 100 m without interruption 1 (1)
Neurologic impairment 1 (1)
Behaviour precluding participation in group therapy 1 (1)
Evidence of distress 1 (1)
Patients unable to accurately locate the area of pain 1 (1)
Patient unable to walk without a walking aid 1 (1)
Suspected non-compliance 1 (1)
21 Patient-reported outcome measures with score thresholds for exclusion Visual Analogue Scale (0 to 100)c  
 ≥ 60 mm 2 (1)
 ≥ 80 mm 2 (1)
Beck Depression Inventory (0 to 63)  
 ≥ 20 points 1 (1)
 ≥ 29 points 1 (1)
Bothersomeness scale (0 to 10)  
 ≤ 3 points 1 (1)
Numeric Rating Scale (0 to 10)  
 ≥ 80 points 1 (1)
  1. aBechterew is an eponymous term for ankylosing spondylitis, and was reported in two trials; bTwo trials used a banned eponymous term to refer to reactive arthritis. cVisual Analogue Scale transformed to mm