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Eur Spine J. 2014 Jan;23(1):113-9. doi: 10.1007/s00586-013-2846-x. Epub 2013 Jun 23.

Prognosis of chronic low back pain in patients presenting to a private community-based group exercise program.

Author information

  • 1Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Level 13, 321 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia, dsteffens@georgeinstitute.org.au.



To examine the prognosis and prognostic factors for patients with chronic low back pain presenting to a private, community-based, group exercise program.


A total of 118 consecutive patients with chronic LBP were recruited. Baseline assessments included socio-demographic characteristics, back pain history and clinical examination findings. Primary outcome measures were pain intensity and disability at 3, 6 and 12 months. Potential prognostic factors to predict pain intensity and disability at 12 months were assessed using a multivariate regression model.


112 (95 %) participants were followed up at 12 months. The majority of participants were female (73 %), had high educational levels (82 %) and resided in suburbs with a high socio-economic status (99 %). Pain intensity improved markedly during the first 6 months (35 %) with further minimal reductions up to 12 months (39 %). Interestingly, disability improved to a greater degree than pain (48 % improvement at 6 months) and continued to improve throughout the 12 months (60 %). Baseline pain intensity accounted for 10 % of the variance in the 1 year pain outcomes. Duration of current episode, baseline disability and educational level accounted for 15 % of the variation in disability at 12 months.


During a period of 12 months, patients with chronic LBP presenting to a private, community-based, group exercise program improved markedly, with greater improvements in disability than pain. The predictors investigated accounted for only 10 and 15 % of pain and disability outcomes, respectively.

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[Available on 2015/1/1]
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