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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Apr 2023 - 14 Apr 2023


Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Apr 07



Identifying chronic low back pain phenotypic domains and characteristics accounting for individual variation: a systematic review.


Hassan S, Nesovic K, Babineau J, Furlan AD, Kumbhare D, Carlesso LC


Interpatient variability is frequently observed among individuals with chronic low back pain (cLBP). This review aimed at identifying phenotypic domains and characteristics that account for interpatient variability in cLBP. We searched MEDLINE ALL (through Ovid), Embase Classic and EMBASE (through Ovid), Scopus, and CINAHL Complete (through EBSCOhost) databases. Studies that aimed to identify or predict cLBP different phenotypes were included. We excluded studies that focused on specific treatments. The methodological quality was assessed using an adaptation of the Downs and Black tool. Forty-three studies were included. Although the patient and pain-related characteristics used to identify phenotypes varied considerably across studies, the following were among the most identified phenotypic domains and characteristics that account for interpatient variability in cLBP: pain-related characteristics (including location, severity, qualities, and duration) and pain impact (including disability, sleep, and fatigue), psychological domains (including anxiety and depression), behavioral domains (including coping, somatization, fear avoidance, and catastrophizing), social domains (including employment and social support), and sensory profiling (including pain sensitivity and sensitization). Despite these findings, our review showed that the evidence on pain phenotyping still requires further investigation. The assessment of the methodological quality revealed several limitations. We recommend adopting a standard methodology to enhance the generalizability of the results and the implementation of a comprehensive and feasible assessment framework to facilitate personalized treatments in clinical settings.