(HealthDay News) – Low back pain (LBP) primary care researchers indicate that the identification and management of specific subgroups of patients and translation of research into clinical practice should be the most important current priorities, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of Spine.

As a follow-up to an agenda of research priorities developed in 1997, Lucíola da Cunha Menezes Costa, PhD, from the Universidade Cidade São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues surveyed 179 primary care LBP researchers via the Internet regarding the importance, feasibility, and progress of the 1997 priorities and the five most important LBP research questions relevant to primary care. The current research priorities were then ranked in a second phase.

The researchers found that the rankings of the 1997 priorities changed somewhat, with more importance on research on beliefs and expectations and improving the quality of LBP research and less importance on guidelines and psychosocial interventions. Organizing more effective LBP primary care, implementing best practices, and having better strategies for translating research to practice increased in importance compared with 1997, and most were ranked as relatively feasible. The top current priorities included identifying clinically relevant subgroups and more research on the causes and mechanisms of LBP.

“Results of the reassessment of the 1997 survey suggest that there has been significant progress in several areas of LBP research during the past decade,” the authors write.

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