INTRODUCTION: Neuropathic low back-related leg pain (LBLP) can be a challenge to healthcare providers to diagnose and treat. Accurate diagnosis of neuropathic pain is fundamental to ensure appropriate intervention is given. However, to date there is no gold standard to diagnose neuropathic LBLP. Patient examination guidelines and screening tools have been developed and validated for the purpose of diagnosing neuropathic pain in LBLP; however, there has been no systematic review conducted to compare the diagnostic validity of these methods. Therefore, this systematic review will investigate the diagnostic utility of patient history, clinical examination and screening tool data to identify neuropathic pain in LBLP.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This protocol is informed and reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis-Protocols. CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, AMED, Pedro, PubMed, key journals and grey literature will be searched rigorously to find diagnostic accuracy studies investigating patient examination data to identify neuropathic pain in LBLP patients. Two independent reviewers will conduct the search, extract the data and assess risk of bias for included studies using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool. The overall quality of included studies will be evaluated using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation guidelines. A meta-analysis will be conducted if deemed appropriate. Otherwise, a narrative synthesis will be conducted.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: No research ethics is required for this systematic review since patient data will not be collected. This review will help to inform healthcare professionals and researchers on the most effective means in which to diagnose neuropathic pain in LBLP. Results of this review will be submitted for publication in a peer-review journal and conference presentations.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019140861.