BACKGROUND: Black and white pain drawings were introduced as a proposed means to identify patients, presenting with low back pain, who demonstrated functional overlay upon neurological testing. The use of color may enhance the usefulness of such pain drawings, but has not been described for adult patients.
AIMS: To retrospectively explore the use of colored pain drawings in patients with neck, low back, or radicular pain.
METHODS: Patients with neck, low back, or radicular pain referred to a community-based neurosurgical practice for evaluation during 1 year (n=359) depicted their pain on anatomical drawings using colored pencils representing different pain characteristics. Patients with abnormal (n=55) and normal (n=54) pain drawings were selected for this study. Use of medications, findings on physical examination, radiographic findings, activity levels, Waddell signs, and pending litigation were recorded and compared between patients with normal and abnormal pain drawings, as assessed according to the Ransford penalty point system.
RESULTS: Patients whose colored pain drawings were abnormal, demonstrated a greater use of medications, more non-focal clinical findings, Waddell signs, impaired activity levels, involvement in pending litigation, and significantly fewer pathological radiographic findings than patients with normal pain drawings.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings agree with previous observations using black and white pain drawings, indicating that colored pain drawings are no less useful than the black and white approach. Further research is necessary to examine the psychometric properties and clinical usefulness of colored pain drawings to predict outcomes and/or determine treatment.
- Neurologi (30207)