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Lower Spine News

Drawing Conclusions About Back Pain and Depression

Doctors often ask patients with low back pain to show their pain and symptoms on a drawing. Researchers doing this study looked at the ability of pain drawings to point out patients with psychological problems.

They found that pain drawings aren't able to detect patients with anxiety or depression. The results of this study confirm findings in other studies. Pain drawings can't predict psychologic distress.

The goal is to find an easy-to-use tool to assess back pain and psychologic status. The test must be repeatable. This means the same results occur when different examiners give the test to the same patient. For now, it looks like the pain drawing can be used most accurately when combined with other tests.

Ketan C. Pande, MCh (Orth), et al. Limited Clinical Utility of Pain Drawing in Assessing Patients with Low Back Pain. In Journal of Spinal Disorders. April 2, 2005. Vol. 18. No. 2. Pp. 160-162.


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