Purpose: To investigate the association between symptom severity and physical activity participation in people with acute non-specific low back pain (LBP).
Methods: The sample included a total of 999 patients who presented to primary care with an acute episode of low back pain. Symptom severity, in terms of activity limitation and severity of pain; and physical activity participation before (habitual) and after pain onset were assessed using self-report questionnaires. All participants were interviewed within 14 days of pain onset.
Results: At interview most of the participants (87.5 %) reported having moderate to extreme activity limitation due to back pain. There was a significant decrease in physical activity participation after pain onset (mean difference: −176 min, 95 % CI 327–400; p < 0.0001) but no association between habitual or change in physical activity participation and symptom severity was observed (p > 0.21).
Conclusion: Pain onset causes a significant and immediate decrease in physical activity participation, but this change does not seem to be associated with symptom severity.
- Activity limitation
- Acute pain
- Low back pain
- Physical activity