External validation and updating of prognostic models for predicting recovery of disability in people with (sub)acute neck pain was successful: broad external validation in a new prospective cohort

Roel W. Wingbermühle*, Alessandro Chiarotto, Emiel van Trijffel, Martijn S. Stenneberg, Ronald Kan, Bart W. Koes, Martijn W. Heymans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Question: Can existing post-treatment prognostic models for predicting neck pain recovery (primarily in terms of disability and secondarily in terms of pain intensity and perceived improvement) be externally validated and updated at the end of the treatment period and at 6 and 12 weeks of follow-up in a new Dutch cohort of people with neck pain treated with guideline-based usual care physiotherapy? Design: External validation and model updating in a new prospective cohort of three previously developed prognostic models. Participants: People with (sub)acute neck pain and registered for primary care physiotherapy treatment. Outcome measures: Recovery of disability, pain intensity, and perceived recovery at 6 and 12 weeks and at the end of the treatment period. Results: Discriminative performance (c-statistic) of the disability model at 6 weeks was 0.73 (95% CI 0.69 to 0.77) and reasonably well calibrated after intercept recalibration. The disability model at 12 weeks and at the end of the treatment period showed discriminative c-statistic performance values of 0.69 (95% CI 0.64 to 0.73) and 0.68 (95% CI 0.63 to 0.72), respectively, and was well calibrated. Pain models and perceived recovery models did not reach acceptable performance. Cervical mobility added value to the disability models and pain catastrophising to the disability and pain models at 6 weeks. Discussion: Broad external validation of the disability model was successful in people with (sub)acute neck pain and clinicians may use this model in clinical practice with reasonable accuracy. Further research is required to assess the disability model's clinical impact and generalisability, and to identify additional valuable model predictors. Registration: https://osf.io/a6r3k/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physiotherapy
Issue number2
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Cite this