What is the personal impact of recurrences of low back pain? Subanalysis of an inception cohort study

Tatiane da Silva, Kathryn Mills, Alice Kongsted, Christopher G. Maher, Mark Hancock

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To investigate (1) the impact of low back pain (LBP) over the course of 1 year in people recently recovered from an episode of LBP, (2) whether the impact differs in people who do and do not experience a recurrence, and (3) the impact of LBP based on 3 definitions of a recurrence of LBP. Design: Cohort study. Methods: In 250 individuals recently recovered from LBP, the impact of LBP over the previous 3 months was assessed with the impact score, a multidimensional measure (range, 8-50), at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Recurrence of LBP was assessed monthly and defined as a recurrence of an episode of LBP, a recurrence of activity-limiting LBP, or a recurrence of LBP causing patients to seek care. Results: The median impact over 1 year was 11.5 points (interquartile range, 9.5-14.8). The impact was 15.2 points (95% confidence interval [CI]: 13.9, 16.3) for those who reported any recurrence and 11.1 points (95% CI: 10.6, 11.5) for those who did not. When comparing definitions of recurrence, those who had a recurrence that did not cause moderate activity limitation or result in care seeking had an overall impact of 12.7 points (95% CI: 11.6, 13.8). Participants who had recurrences of activity-limiting LBP but did not seek care, had an overall impact of 15.5 points (95% CI: 13.5, 17.6), and those who had recurrences of LBP for which health care was sought had an overall impact of 16.9 points (95% CI: 15.3, 18.4). Conclusion: The average impact due to recurrence of LBP was low and dependent on the definition of recurrence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)294-300
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


    • impact
    • inception cohort
    • low back pain
    • recurrences


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