Objective: To determine which literature-based definitions of low back pain (LBP) could be combined to produce sufficiently similar sets for use in a meta-analysis. Study Design and Setting: A group of six international experts participated in an e-mail-administered Delphi process. Literature-based LBP definitions were preliminarily classified into 14 sets within four outcome types: pathology, symptoms and care-seeking, functional limitations, and participation. Experts independently rated their level of agreement that each outcome definition belonged in its assigned set using a seven-point Likert scale. After each round, results were synthesized and revised classifications were fed back to the experts who were asked to consider them before rerating the outcome definitions. Results: The experts completed three Delphi rounds and reached consensus on the categorization of 115/119 (97%) of the outcome definitions. There were 20 final sets of outcomes identified: three sets of pathology outcomes, two sets each of functional limitation and participation outcomes, and 13 sets of symptom and care-seeking outcomes. Conclusions: In a research area that currently lacks uniformly accepted definitions of outcomes, we successfully used a Delphi consensus process to reach substantial agreement on combinable LBP outcomes that would be combinable for a meta-analysis.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.09.005, hdl.handle.net/1765/36278
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Griffith, L., Hogg-Johnson, S., Cole, D., Krause, N., Hayden, J., Burdorf, A., … Shannon, H. (2007). Low-back pain definitions in occupational studies were categorized for a meta-analysis using Delphi consensus methods. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 60(6). doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.09.005