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Gonna Go "Back" in Time

Can you remember much about an injury or pain from 10 years ago? Researchers often use "old" information in their studies. They rely on a patient's memories from years past. They often ask questions about pain, such as where it was located and how severe it was. These studies are usually done by asking questions in a telephone interview or written survey. These are called retrospective studies. But how correct are retrospective studies?

Data collected after the fact does depend on the patient. Using simple, reliable questions is also important. Patient age, hopes, and current level of pain have some affect. The length of time between interviews also affects the ability to remember. This seems to be caused by aging more than by the number of years between interviews.

Many studies used to plan treatment for low back pain are based on a patient's ability to remember the past. Some information about pain and other symptoms is surprisingly correct. However, there are some problems with collecting data this way. Researchers are trying to find more questions that are reliable and accurate for long-term studies.


Edgar G. Dawson, MD, et al. Low Back Pain Recollection Versus Concurrent Accounts. In Spine. May 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 9. Pp. 984-994.

05/28/2002

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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