The lumbar intervertebral disc is a recognized cause of low back pain (LBP). Various clinical features of discogenic pain have been suggested, but none have been validated. Several subgroups of discogenic pain have been hypothesised, with non-reducible discogenic pain (NRDP) proposed as a relevant clinical subgroup. The objectives of this study were to obtain consensus from an expert panel on the features of discogenic low back pain, the existence of subgroups of discogenic LBP, particularly NRDP, and the associated features of NRDP. The authors of the study used a three-round Delphi survey of twenty-one international physiotherapists with expertise in LBP. Panellists listed and ranked features that they believed to be indicative of discogenic pain and NRDP. On completion of Round 3, features with ≥50% agreement between panellists were considered to have reached consensus. After three rounds, 10 features of discogenic LBP were identified. Nineteen of the panellists believed that NRDP was a subgroup of discogenic LBP, and nine features of NRDP were identified.
This study provides preliminary validation for the features associated with discogenic LBP. It also provides data reinforcing the existence and features of NRDP as a separate clinical subgroup of discogenic LBP.