Multimorbidity and co-occurring musculoskeletal pain do not modify the effect of the selfBACK app on low back pain-related disability

Øverås, C. K., Nilsen, T. I.L., Nicholl, B. I. , Rughani, G., Wood, K., Søgaard, K., Mair, F. S. and Hartvigsen, J. (2022) Multimorbidity and co-occurring musculoskeletal pain do not modify the effect of the selfBACK app on low back pain-related disability. BMC Medicine, 10, 53. (doi: 10.1186/s12916-022-02237-z) (PMID:35130898) (PMCID:PMC8822859)

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Background: SELFBACK, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based app delivering evidence-based tailored self-management support to people with low back pain (LBP), has been shown to reduce LBP-related disability when added to usual care. LBP commonly co-occurs with multimorbidity (≥ 2 long-term conditions) or pain at other musculoskeletal sites, so this study explores if these factors modify the effect of the SELFBACK app or influence outcome trajectories over time. Methods: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial with 9-month follow-up. Primary outcome is as follows: LBP-related disability (Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, RMDQ). Secondary outcomes are as follows: stress/depression/illness perception/self-efficacy/general health/quality of life/physical activity/global perceived effect. We used linear mixed models for continuous outcomes and logistic generalized estimating equation for binary outcomes. Analyses were stratified to assess effect modification, whereas control (n = 229) and intervention (n = 232) groups were pooled in analyses of outcome trajectories. Results: Baseline multimorbidity and co-occurring musculoskeletal pain sites did not modify the effect of the SELFBACK app. The effect was somewhat stronger in people with multimorbidity than among those with LBP only (difference in RMDQ due to interaction, − 0.9[95 % CI − 2.5 to 0.6]). Participants with a greater number of long-term conditions and more co-occurring musculoskeletal pain had higher levels of baseline disability (RMDQ 11.3 for ≥ 2 long-term conditions vs 9.5 for LBP only; 11.3 for ≥ 4 musculoskeletal pain sites vs 10.2 for ≤ 1 additional musculoskeletal pain site); along with higher baseline scores for stress/depression/illness perception and poorer pain self-efficacy/general health ratings. In the pooled sample, LBP-related disability improved slightly less over time for people with ≥ 2 long-term conditions additional to LBP compared to no multimorbidity and for those with ≥4 co-occurring musculoskeletal pain sites compared to ≤ 1 additional musculoskeletal pain site (difference in mean change at 9 months = 1.5 and 2.2, respectively). All groups reported little improvement in secondary outcomes over time. Conclusions: Multimorbidity or co-occurring musculoskeletal pain does not modify the effect of the selfBACK app on LBP-related disability or other secondary outcomes. Although people with these health problems have worse scores both at baseline and 9 months, the AI-based selfBACK app appears to be helpful for those with multimorbidity or co-occurring musculoskeletal pain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rughani, Dr Guy and Nicholl, Dr Barbara and Mair, Professor Frances and Wood, Miss Karen
Authors: Øverås, C. K., Nilsen, T. I.L., Nicholl, B. I., Rughani, G., Wood, K., Søgaard, K., Mair, F. S., and Hartvigsen, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:BMC Medicine
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1741-7015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Medicine 20: 53
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172430SELFBACKBarbara NichollEuropean Commission (EC)689043HW - General Practice and Primary Care