Inconsistent grading of evidence across countries: A review of low-back pain guidelines, Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics

A. Y. Murphy, M. O. Gobbi, Edwin Roland Van Teijlingen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The aim of this study was to report clinical treatment recommendations for low back pain (LBP) based on 5 international guidelines and best evidence from the Cochrane database of systematic reviews.

    Methods: Five LBP guidelines available in English language were appraised, including 4 studies published since the seminal work by Koes et al (Spine 2001;26:2504-5213). The guidelines were examined for treatment recommendations concerning nonspecific LBP and guideline quality with application of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument. Secondly, a systematic literature search for reviews and randomized controlled trials was conducted using a modified version of the search strategy recommended by the Cochrane Back Review Group. Two systematic reviews were identified.

    Results: According to best evidence from review of the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, there remains a lack of consensus regarding reported efficacy of spinal manipulative therapy for the treatment of nonspecific LBP. Furthermore, the guidelines reviewed in the present study have not changed significantly with respect to treatment recommendations for nonspecific LBP since the original review, and there is inconsistency between the guidelines regarding optimal time to introduce spinal manipulation to treat nonspecific LBP.

    Conclusion: Treatment recommendations for nonspecific LBP, particularly spinal manipulation, remain inconclusive. Guideline developers need to consider guidelines in neighboring countries and reach consensus on how evidence is graded and incorporated into guidelines. Guidelines should continue to be regularly updated to incorporate new evidence and methods of grading the evidence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)576-581
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • low back pain
    • guidelines
    • review literature
    • COST


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