Greater pain intensity, more pain sites predict nonrecovery from recent-onset low back pain
About a third of patients who present to an emergency department (ED) with recent-onset low back pain (LBP) fail to recover within 12 months, with factors such as higher pain levels and more pain sites, among others, being prognostic of complete nonrecovery within 6 months, according to a study.
With an aim to describe the prognosis in people with recent-onset LBP presenting to EDs, researchers performed an inception cohort study with a 1-year follow-up. The total study population comprised 600 consecutive acute LBP patients who presented to four EDs.
The main outcomes evaluated were days to recover from pain, recover from disability, return to previous work hours and duties, and complete recovery.
Within 12 months, 70 percent of the population (95 percent CI, 66–74) completely recovered, 73 percent (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 69–77) recovered from pain, 86 percent (95 percent CI, 82–90) recovered from disability, and 79 percent (95 percent CI, 71–87) returned to previous work hours and duties.
The median recovery times were 70 days (95 percent CI, 57–83) to complete recovery, 67 days (95 percent CI, 54–80) to recover from pain, 37 days (95 percent CI, 31–43) to recover from disability, and 37 days (95 percent CI, 25–49) to return to previous work hours and duties.
Factors that predicted complete nonrecovery within 6 months included higher pain levels, a higher perceived risk of persistent LBP, more days of reduced activity due to LBP, more pain sites, and longer LBP duration.