In chapters where recommendations for surgical, medical, psychological, and complementary treatment and diagnostic tests are presented, the quality of evidence supporting authors' statements relating to clinical interventions, or the papers themselves, are graded following the Oxford Bandolier system by insertion of the following symbols into the text:
[I] Strong evidence from at least one published systematic review of multiple well-designed randomized controlled trials
[II] Strong evidence from at least one published properly designed randomized controlled trial of appropriate size and in an appropriate clinical setting
[III] Evidence from published well-designed trials without randomization, single group pre-post, cohort, time series, or matched case-controlled studies
[IV] Evidence from well-designed non-experimental studies from more than one center or research group
[V] Opinions of respected authorities, based on clinical evidence, descriptive studies or reports of expert consensus committees.
Oxford Bandolier system used by kind permission of Bandolier: www.jr2.ox.ac.uk/Bandolier
Where no grade is inserted, the quality of supporting evidence, if any exists, is of low grade only (e.g. case reports, clinical experience, etc).
Other textbooks devoted to the subject of pain include a tremendous amount of anecdotal and personal recommendations, and it is often difficult to distinguish these from those with an established evidence base. This text is thus unique in allowing the reader the opportunity to do this with confidence.
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