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November 20, 2014

Dr. Hamilton Hall, MD, FRCSC, is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He is the Medical Director, CBI Health Group and Executive Director of the Canadian Spine Society in Toronto, Ontario.
Greg McIntosh, MSc, completed his Masters in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine. He is currently the Director of Clinical Research for CBI Health Group and research consultant to the Canadian Spine Society.

Abstract
This article highlights the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the straight leg raise (SLR) test for sciatica. Unfortunately, neither intra- nor inter-observer reliability of the passive SLR test has ever been agreed upon. In addition, there is poor consensus about what constitutes a positive SLR test in terms of pain location, leg elevation limitation or clinical significance. Until there are stricter performance standards and uniform agreement, researchers and clinicians should interpret the test with caution. We believe a true positive SLR should be the reproduction or exacerbation of the typical leg dominant pain in the affected limb at any degree of passive elevation. Those with only increased back pain or any leg pain other than that presenting as the chief complaint should be regarded as false positives.
Key Words: low back pain, straight leg raise, sciatica, irritative test.

Untitled Document

Dr. Hamilton Hall, MD, FRCSC, is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He is the Medical Director, CBI Health Group and Executive Director of the Canadian Spine Society in Toronto, Ontario.

September 8, 2014

This article is being developed and will be posted soon. Thank you.

August 27, 2014

1,2Darren M. Roffey PhD; 1Simon Dagenais DC, PhD, MSc; 3Ted Findlay DO, CCFP; 4,5Travis E. Marion MD, MSc; 6Greg McIntosh MSc; 7,8Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC; 1,2,4,5Eugene K. Wai MD, MSc, FRCSC

1University of Ottawa Spine Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 2Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON,

3
Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, 4Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 5Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, ON, 6CBI Health Group, Toronto, ON, 7Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON,

8Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract

Obesity and low back pain are equally complex medical conditions with multi-factorial etiologies. Their clinical practice guidelines both include recommendations for screening and examination that can be easily implemented. There is sufficient information to compile a framework for the primary care provider, partnering with the patient and appropriate specialists, to manage obesity and low back pain in a structured fashion. Weight loss and exercise are paramount and should be recommended as the first options. Cognitive behavioural therapy, pharmacological treatment and bariatric surgery may then be implemented sequentially depending upon the effectiveness of the initial interventions.

Key Words: Obesity, low back pain, exercise, nutrition, cognitive behavioural therapy, bariatric surgery, weight loss, pharmacological, evidence-based guideline.

Untitled Document

1,2Darren M. Roffey PhD; 1Simon Dagenais DC, PhD, MSc; 3Ted Findlay DO, CCFP; 4,5Travis E. Marion MD, MSc; 6Greg McIntosh MSc; 7,8Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC; 1,2,4,5Eugene K. Wai MD, MSc, FRCSC

July 22, 2014

1,2Darren M. Roffey PhD; 1Simon Dagenais DC, PhD, MSc; 3Ted Findlay DO, CCFP; 4,5Travis E. Marion MD, MSc; 6Greg McIntosh MSc; 7,8Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC; 1,2,4,5Eugene K. Wai MD, MSc, FRCSC

1University of Ottawa Spine Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 2Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON,

3
Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, 4Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, 5Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, ON, 6CBI Health Group, Toronto, ON, 7Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON,

8Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract

Recognizing that the increasing incidence of obesity coincides with the rising prevalence of LBP, there is growing interest in establishing the relationship between over-weight and back pain. It is likely that any association is multi-factorial and that the connection is not as mechanistically simple as previously believed. Systemic inflammation associated with obesity may be an important contributor. Proposed treatment options vary from cognitive behavioural therapy to bariatric surgery with none yet fully proven. Despite the ambiguity, it appears prudent for primary care providers treating obese patients with LBP to recommend weight loss and exercise.

Key Words: Obesity, low back pain, inflammation, intervertebral disc, multi-factorial, causality, association.

Untitled Document

1,2Darren M. Roffey PhD; 1Simon Dagenais DC, PhD, MSc; 3Ted Findlay DO, CCFP; 4,5Travis E. Marion MD, MSc; 6Greg McIntosh MSc; 7,8Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC; 1,2,4,5Eugene K. Wai MD, MSc, FRCSC

May 29, 2014

Dr. Ted Findlay, DO, CCFP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

Mohammed F. Shamji, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract
Low back pain is one of the most common conditions for which patients seek medical attention. It can be managed with lifestyle modification, or less commonly medical and surgical intervention. Appropriate selection among various pharmacological options mandates an understanding of the underlying symptomatology and the over-riding treatment plan and objectives. The range of potential medications is substantial: over-the-counter analgesics include acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and weak opioid combinations including codeine or tramadol. More potent versions of many of the same components are available on prescription, commonly employing stronger opioids either singly or in a combination analgesic. When the pain involves either chronic or neuropathic features, other classes of medications, including anti-epileptic drugs and anti-depressants, may be appropriate.
Key Words: low back pain, acute, chronic, neuropathic pain, nociceptive pain, medications.

Untitled Document

Dr. Ted Findlay, DO, CCFP, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

April 1, 2014

Dr. Julia Alleyne, BHSc(PT), MD, CCFP, Dip. Sport Med MScCH, is a Family Physician practising Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. In addition, she trained as a physiotherapist and maintained an active license for 30 years. She is appointed at the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine as an Associate Clinical Professor.

Greg McIntosh, MSc, completed his Masters in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. He is currently the Director of Clinical Research for CBI Health Group and research consultant to the Canadian Spine Society.

Abstract
This article helps clinicians decide on appropriate referral to rehabilitation professionals while answering some of the common questions that clinicians are often asked by low back patients. The evidence for appropriate rehabilitation techniques will be interwoven into this article to promote a critical appraisal approach to evaluating rehabilitation outcomes. At the conclusion of this paper, clinicians should be able to identify best practices for rehabilitation referral.
Key Words: Low back pain, indications, rehabilitation, inter-professional referral.

Dr. Julia Alleyne, BHSc(PT), MD, CCFP, Dip. Sport Med MScCH, is a Family Physician practising Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. In addition, she trained as a physiotherapist and maintained an active license for 30 years. She is appointed at the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine as an Associate Clinical Professor.

February 3, 2014

Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Alina Shcharinsky RN (EC), MN, CNN(C), Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract
Chronic pain is a complex disease state associated with substantial individual disability and suffering alongside societal economic impact. The entity of neuropathic pain is a diagnosis of specific clinical characteristics and underlying pathophysiology. Failed back surgery syndrome represents persistent neuropathic leg pain following structurally corrective spinal surgery, often being refractory to escalated pharmacological management. In appropriately selected patients, spinal cord stimulation is a surgical technique that may offer reduced disability and pain, and improved economic outcomes for patients where medical management has been unsuccessful. Contemporary technological advances continue to improve this approach with greater success, lessened morbidity, and expanding indications.
Key Words: failed back surgery syndrome, neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation, neuromodulation.

Mohammed F. Shamji MD, PhD, FRCSC, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Alina Shcharinsky RN (EC), MN, CNN(C), Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

January 7, 2014
HealthPlexus.net
For immediate release:
January 7th 2014


The Canadian Spine Society (CSS), as part of its educational mandate, is partnering with www.healthplexus.net (HealthPlexus) and the Journal of Current Clinical Care (JCCC) to promote best practices and knowledge translation for fast and effective diagnosis and management of back pain.

As part of the multi-faceted collaboration, CSS and HealthPlexus will work on a comprehensive continuing education program aimed at healthcare professionals that will be delivered via www.healthplexus.net and the Journal of Current Clinical Care.

Dr. Hamilton Hall is a well-recognized key opinion leader both nationally and internationally on the subject of back pain. He has taken on the position of Editor-in-Chief for the Back Health Resource Center @HealthPlexus.

Dr. Hall and his colleagues from the CSS will present an ongoing series of Clinical Reviews and Case Studies, which will be available through the HealthPlexus channels. Their goal is to provide those healthcare professionals who are managing patients with back health issues with deeper knowledge and increased ability to address their patients' needs.

"Numerous population wide surveys have confirmed that arthritic disorders that limit mobility are the most important factors in impairing quality of life for older adults. Back pain is one of the key issues limiting mobility, and I applaud HealthPlexus for addressing this very important topic."

-Barry J. Goldlist, MD, FRCPC, FACP, AGSF, senior member of the advisory board for HealthPlexus.net [Geriatrics and Dementia] and the Journal of Current Clinical Care. Dr. Goldlist is a nationally recognized geriatrician with a long standing interest in medical education and medical journalism.

“For practitioners who look after the adult population, especially those in the middle and later years, disorders of musculo-skeletal mobility and acute and chronic pain is one of the most common challenges they face with their patients. There is enormous suffering and impairment of full function and ability to participate in normal activities much less those of a recreational nature when someone experiences back pain that is unrelieved by simple and safe methods. Having an additional means to learn about and find methods to address the issues of back pain with all its complexities of diagnosis and treatment, is an important addition to the HealthPlexus spectrum of clinical support for practicing physicians.”

-Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FACP, the Editor-in-Chief of the Dementia Educational Resource. Dr. Gordon is the Medical Program Director of Palliative Care at Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System

"As a medical professional who has trained as both a Radiologist and a Family physician, I have seen many patients who suffer from the entire spectrum of lower back pain. I don't think that medical school and residency prepares you enough to adequately to deal with the complexity of this condition. A dedicated CME resource focusing on back health is a much needed tool for both students and practicing physicians who wish to acquire skills and keep their skills up to date on this subject. Dr. Hall is eminently qualified for such an endeavor. I still recall his teachings, some years ago now, in my medical school class at the University of Toronto vividly. As medical editor of the Journal of Current clinical Care, I encourage you to take advantage of this learning opportunity."

-D’Arcy Little, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, the editorial director of HealthPlexus.net and its sister publication, the Journal of Current Clinical Care. Dr. Little is a family physician, diagnostic radiologist and medical writer. He completed fellowships in Care of the Elderly and Academic Medicine


About Health Plexus:
Comprised of 1000s of clinical reviews, CMEs, bio-medical illustrations and animations and other resources, all organized in the 34 condition zones, our vision is to provide physicians and allied healthcare professionals with access to credible, timely and multi-disciplinary continuing medical education from anywhere and on any media consumption device. The Back Health Educational Resource is the compilation of high quality clinical reviews, online CME programs, library of original visual aids, interviews, roundtable discussions and related conference reports.


About The Canadian Spine Society:

The CSS is a collaborative body of Canadian neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine surgeons and other spine care professionals with a primary interest in advancing excellence in spine patient care, research and education.

Contact Person:
Mark Varnovitski
mark@healthplexus.net
www.healthplexus.net

January 22, 2013

Abstract
In 1987, the Quebec Taskforce noted, "Distinct patterns of reliable clinical findings are the only logical basis for back pain categorization and subsequent treatment." Identifying these patterns begins with the patient's history: "Where is your pain the worst?" "Is your pain constant or intermittent?" "Has there been any change in your bowel or bladder function?" This questioning establishes the mechanical nature of the pain, and a physical examination verifies or refutes the pattern established in the history. The examination involves two essential tests to detect upper motor and low sacral root involvement. A failure of the results to fit into one of four syndromes—two back dominant and two leg dominant—suggests a non-mechanical or more complex problem.
Key words: patterns of back pain, pain location, pain characteristics, history, physical examination.

January 22, 2013

Abstract
Back dominant pain is either intensified by flexion or is not aggravated by bending forward. The most common pattern, probably discogenic, subdivides into two groups: one with pain on flexion but relief on extension, the other with pain in both directions. The second pattern has symptoms with extension only. Treatment begins with education about the true benign nature of the problem. Mechanical pain responds to posture adjustment and pattern-specific movement. Medication has a secondary role. Imaging is not required for the responding patient. The inability to detect a pattern or a lack of anticipated response combined with non-mechanical findings indicates the need for appropriate referral.
Key words: back dominant pain, education, medication, imaging, specialist referral.

January 22, 2013

Abstract
Leg dominant pain suggests direct nerve root involvement: radicular, not referred symptoms. Constant pain associated with positive neurological findings usually results from an acute disc herniation. Symptoms are the result of mechanical compression but principally reflect an inflammatory response, properly designated sciatica. Intermittent leg dominant pain triggered by activity in extension and relieved by rest in flexion probably represents neurogenic claudication: nerve root ischemia secondary to spinal stenosis. Except for acute cauda equina syndrome, acute sciatica is initially managed with scheduled rest, adequate medication, and time. Non-responsive cases may require surgery. Surgery also shows superior outcomes for disabling neurogenic claudication.
Key words: leg dominant pain, sciatica, neurogenic claudication, cauda equina syndrome, surgery.