Less Pain vs Mobility: What Do Patients Really Want?

A survey of patients affected by lumbar spinal stenosis reports that a substantial majority prefer a therapeutic approach that delivers pain relief over one that affords increased mobility. The research appeared online earlier this month in the journal Neurology. The survey examined 269 patients at the Neuromedicine Pain Management Center at the University of Rochester between 2008 and 2014. Asked whether they would prefer a treatment that allows them to walk farther or one that allows them to walk with less pain, 79% of the 221 respondents expressed a preference for walking with less pain—even at the cost of less mobility.

Study author John Markman, MD, observed, “While physicians have leaned toward the need to increase mobility, this study shows that patients have a clear preference for pain relief.” The research team stated that the findings highlight the importance of delivering pain relief in the design and conduct of clinical drug trials, even in the absence of enhanced mobility. The study abstract further concludes that pain reduction “…may therefore constitute a sufficient patient-focused treatment outcome for the majority of these patients.”

Read a news story about the findings here.

The study abstract may be read here.


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