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Table 2 Characteristics of patients in whom neck pain, arm pain and disability improved and did not improve

From: Predicting the evolution of neck pain episodes in routine clinical practice

VariablesImprovement of neckpainImprovement of armpainImprovement of disability
No (n = 656)Yes (n = 1716)No (n = 567)Yes (n = 1371)No (n = 476)Yes (n = 507)
Gender (female)a505 (77.0)1263 (73.6)435 (76.7)1053 (76.8)345 (72.5)360 (71.0)
Age (years)b48.6 (17.9)50.9 (15.3)50.5 (15.7)51.6 (14.4)47.8 (18.7)48.3 (16.2)
Employment statusa
 Not applicable374 (57.0)695 (40.5)267 (47.1)457 (33.3)314 (66.0)269 (53.1)
 Not working67 (10.2)101 (5.9)50 (8.8)77 (5.6)57 (12.0)49 (9.7)
 Working215 (32.8)920 (53.6)183 (32.3)664 (48.4)105 (22.1)189 (37.3)
Duration of the pain episode (days) c180 (60; 365)180 (90; 365)180 (90; 365)240 (90; 365)90 (32.5; 195)120 (60; 365)
Duration of the pain episode categorized (days) a
 Acute (< 90 days)259 (39.5)570 (33.2)175 (30.9)370 (27.0)236 (49.6)222 (43.8)
 Chronic (≥90 days)397 (60.5)1146 (66.8)392 (69.1)1001 (73.0)240 (50.4)285 (56.2)
Time since first episode (years)a
  < 1168 (25.6)339 (19.8)110 (19.4)245 (17.9)146 (30.7)144 (28.4)
 1–5242 (36.9)571 (33.3)209 (36.9)470 (34.3)179 (37.6)169 (33.3)
 5–10125 (19.1)409 (23.8)125 (22.1)336 (24.5)80 (16.8)90 (17.8)
  > 1098 (14.9)346 (20.2)102 (18.0)278 (20.3)55 (11.6)73 (14.4)
Baseline intensity of neck pain (VAS)b6.0 (2.4)6.7 (2.2)6.6 (2.1)7.1 (1.9)5.6 (2.3)6.1 (2.3)
Baseline intensity of arm pain (VAS)b5.5 (2.5)6.1 (2.5)5.6 (2.4)6.5 (2.2)5.3 (2.5)5.4 (2.5)
Baseline disability (NDI)b34.1 (20.5)37.0 (18.6)39.5 (20.0)41.8 (16.5)32.8 (19.0)38.4 (18.4)
Diagnostic procedures during the episodea
 X-Ray122 (18.6)457 (26.6)118 (20.8)348 (25.4)80 (16.8)101 (19.9)
 MRI115 (17.5)364 (21.2)109 (19.2)285 (20.8)65 (13.7)110 (21.7)
 CT scan7 (1.1)29 (1.7)9 (1.6)19 (1.4)2 (0.4)7 (1.4)
 EMG15 (2.3)27 (1.6)17 (3.0)27 (2.0)14 (2.9)9 (1.8)
Other36 (5.5)71 (4.1)39 (6.9)60 (4.4)29 (6.1)19 (3.8)
Imaging findingsa
 Disc degeneration303 (46.2)659 (38.4)312 (55.0)602 (43.9)266 (55.9)294 (58.0)
 Facet joint degeneration73 (11.1)103 (6.0)74 (13.1)77 (5.6)68 (14.3)42 (8.3)
 Scoliosis25 (3.8)75 (4.4)24 (4.2)61 (4.5)21 (4.4)28 (5.5)
 Spinal stenosis12 (1.8)32 (1.9)16 (2.8)29 (2.1)11 (2.3)9 (1.8)
 Disc protrusion75 (11.4)95 (5.5)76 (13.4)115 (8.4)52 (10.9)40 (7.9)
 Disc herniation (extrusion)112 (17.1)234 (13.6)123 (21.7)245 (17.9)79 (16.6)117 (23.1)
 Other findings72 (11.0)201 (11.7)77 (13.6)168 (12.3)58 (12.2)99 (19.5)
 No findings131 (20.0)756 (44.1)116 (20.5)587 (42.8)14 (2.9)29 (5.7)
Clinical diagnosis
 Spinal stenosis12 (1.8)32 (1.9)16 (2.8)29 (2.1)11 (2.3)9 (1.8)
 Disc protrusión/Herniation164 (25.0)285 (16.6)173 (30.5)302 (22.0)117 (24.6)143 (28.2)
 Nonspecific syndrome480 (73.2)1399 (81.5)378 (66.7)1040 (75.9)348 (73.1)355 (70.0)
Treatments
 Analgesics419 (63.9)1139 (66.4)391 (69.0)959 (70.0)339 (71.2)353 (69.6)
 NSAIDs387 (59.0)1062 (61.9)352 (62.1)888 (64.8)310 (65.1)347 (68.4)
 Steroids60 (9.2)98 (5.7)  53 (11.1)42 (8.3)
 Muscle relaxants170 (25.9)438 (25.5)147 (25.9)347 (25.3)142 (29.8)170 (33.5)
 Opioids11 (1.7)22 (1.3)10 (1.8)24 (1.8)14 (2.9)15 (3.0)
 Other145 (22.1)362 (21.1)143 (25.2)290 (21.2)148 (31.1)182 (35.9)
Non pharmacological treatments
 Physical therapy38 (5.8)100 (5.8)33 (5.8)72 (5.3)24 (5.0)28 (5.5)
 Rehabilitation84 (12.8)172 (10.0)76 (13.4)164 (12.0)74 (15.6)64 (12.6)
 Neuro-reflexotherapy428 (65.2)1574 (91.7)419 (73.9)1332 (97.2)252 (52.9)379 (74.8)
 Surgery3 (0.5)3 (0.2)2 (0.4)3 (0.2)1 (0.2)0 (0.0)
Other treatments
 Rhizolysis1 (0.2)2 (0.1)1 (0.2)2 (0.1)2 (0.4)1 (0.2)
 Epidural injections2 (0.3)9 (0.5)2 (0.4)8 (0.6)3 (0.6)4 (0.8)
 Referral to pain unit7 (1.1)4 (0.2)7 (1.3)4 (0.3)9 (1.9)2 (0.4)
 Othertreatmentsd3 (0.5)17 (1.0)5 (0.9)11 (0.8)4 (0.8)7 (1.4)
  1. aFrequency (%). b Mean (sd). c Median (p25;p75). d Includes; injections of ozone, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and homeopathy