Exploring pain phenotypes in workers with chronic low back pain: Application of IMMPACT recommendations
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Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a major cause of disability globally. Stratified care has been proposed as a means to improve prognosis and treatment but is generally based on limited aspects of pain, including biopsychosocial drivers. Aims: Following Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) recommendations, the present study explored pain phenotypes with a sample of workers with CLBP, a population for which no pain phenotypes have been derived to date. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used with a sample of 154 workers with CLBP attending a rehabilitation clinic, recruited in person and from social media. Latent class analysis was used to identify subgroups of patients with different pain profiles based on ten pain indicators (pain variability, pain intensity, pain quality, somatization, sleep quality, depression, fatigue, pain catastrophizing, neuropathic pain, and central sensitization). Results: The majority of the sample (85%) were recruited through social media. Both the two-class and three-class solutions were found to be satisfactory in distinguishing phenotypes of workers with CLBP. Three variables proved particularly important in distinguishing between the pain phenotypes-pain quality, fatigue, and central sensitization-with higher scores on these indicators associated with pain phenotypes with higher pain burden. Increased chronic pain self-efficacy, work-related support, and perceived work abilities were protective risk factors for being in a higher pain burden class. Conclusions: The present study is the first to explore IMMPACT recommendations for pain phenotyping with workers with CLBP. Future prospective research will be needed to validate the proposed pain phenotypes.