Only one fifth of young Australian adults have beliefs about medical scans for low back pain that align with current evidence

Beales D, Kent P, Birkrem MB, Man Chow C, Li LK, Tan RLJ, Kendell M, Straker L, O'Sullivan P, Smith A. 01 Dec 2021 Musculoskelet Sci Pract.; 56:102460.

Publication date: 01 Dec 2021

Keywords: diagnostic imaging, low back pain

What is already known about this subject:

  • Diagnostic scans for low back pain are over utilised, against guideline based recommendations for managing low back pain.
  • Relatively little is known about peoples beliefs about how diagnostic scans might relate to the experience of low back pain. Therefore, this study aimed to address the following questions: 1. Do beliefs of young Australian adults concerning medical scans for low back pain align with current evidence? 2. Are these beliefs related to clinical factors (history of low back pain, history of previous medical scans, low back pain-related disability, presence of leg pain) or sociodemographic factors (sex, education, income)?

What this study adds

  • A sample of 163 Gen2 participants from the Raine Study aged 27 years old answered questions related to their beliefs about medical scans for low back pain. In general, only one fifth of the participants held beliefs aligned with current evidence
  • Most participants were unsure how medicals scans might relate to the experience of low back pain. Those participants who had a highest education level of completing high school reported beliefs less aligned to current evidence, compared to those with university level education.
  • This information could inform campaigns to educate the community regarding evidence-based use of medical scans in low back pain, targeted at young Australian adults. Any campaign should cater for all levels of literacy, including those with lower education.
View full publication

Areas of Interest