Ambulance service use by patients with lower back pain: an observational study
Methods: This observational study is a retrospective analysis of ambulance service calls in the North East of England presenting with LBP from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017 (Health Research Authority registration 17/WS/0216).
Results: Of 484,495 answered calls, 3315 (0.7%) calls were categorised as initially presenting with LBP. Women represented 59% of callers. Most calls were from those aged 41‐50 and 71‐80 years old. Almost half of patients (48%) initially presenting with LBP were later categorised with a problem elsewhere. Of the patients, 49% received analgesia, including Entonox (24%) and morphine (13%). Most patients (69%) were transported to an emergency department while 28% remained at home.
Conclusion: LBP is a relatively common reason to call the ambulance service. Contrary to data from primary care, non-spinal causes, which include medical emergencies, make up a significant proportion of this. Current guidance on back pain focuses on primary care and specialist settings. Future updates may need to consider emergency care as a distinct setting with a potentially different patient population.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Teesside University ORCID iD:, URL: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3659-5344 2: Teesside University ORCID iD:, URL: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5864-4325 3: Teesside University ORCID iD:, URL: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5519-3311 4: Teesside University
Publication date: March 1, 2022
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