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Identifying Neuropathic Pain Among Patients With Chronic Low-Back Pain: Use of the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs Pain Scale
  1. Abdullah M. Kaki, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.,
  2. Ahmed Zaki El-Yaski, M.D. and
  3. Ehab Youseif, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine(A.M.K.), King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  2. Department of Rheumatology (A.Z.E.-Y.), Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo, Egypt
  3. Medical Department (E.Y.), Pfizer Inc., Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  1. Reprint requests: Abdullah M. Kaki, M.D., Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, P.O. Box 2907, Jeddah 21461, Saudi Arabia. E-mail: amkaki{at}


Background and Objectives Although the literature contains information about prevalence and incidence of low-back pain (LBP), little information is available about the contribution of the neuropathic element to LBP. Our study was designed to investigate the prevalence of neuropathic pain among a sample of chronic LBP patients in Saudi Arabia by use of the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) pain scale.

Methods A total of 1,169 patients from 117 centers agreed to participate in the study over a period of 6.5 months. The LANSS pain scale was applied to each patient in an interview format. The characteristics of pain and sensory dysfunction were tested and recorded.

Results According to the LANSS pain scale, 639 patients (54.7%) had scores of 12 points or more, which suggested a neuropathic type of pain, and 530 patients (45.3%) had scores of less than 12, which suggested a nociceptive type of pain. Factors that are associated with neuropathic pain are advanced age, female gender, increased height, white race, hypertension and diabetes, a history of smoking, previous back surgery, and previous medications.

Conclusion Neuropathic pain is a major contributor to chronic LBP, and the LANSS pain scale is a useful tool to distinguish patients with neuropathic pain from those with nociceptive pain.

  • Low-back pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) pain scale

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  • Pfizer provided financial assistance with data collection.