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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 May;26(4):213-9.

The course of low back pain in a general population. Results from a 5-year prospective study.

Author information

1
The Back Clinic, Ringe, Denmark. hestbaek@vip.cybercity.dk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the course of low back pain (LBP) in a general population over 5 years.

DESIGN:

Prospective population-based survey by postal questionnaires in 1991, 1992, and 1996.

SETTING:

The municipal of Ebeltoft, Denmark.

SUBJECTS:

Two thousand people aged 30 to 50 years, representative of the Danish population. Main outcome measure Number of days with low back pain during the past year.

RESULTS:

One thousand three hundred seventy were recruited of whom 813 (59%) were followed to 5 years. The responders could be divided into 3 groups with regard to LBP: no pain, short-term pain, and long-lasting/recurring pain. More than one third of people who experienced LBP in the previous year did so for >30 days. Forty percent of people with LBP >30 days at baseline remained in that group 1 and 5 years later, and 9% with LBP >30 days in year 0 were pain free in year 5. People with LBP in year 0 were 4 times more likely to have LBP in year 1, and 2 times more likely to be affected in year 5.

CONCLUSIONS:

Low back pain should not be considered transient and therefore neglected, since the condition rarely seems to be self-limiting but merely presents with periodic attacks and temporary remissions. On the other hand, chronicity as defined solely by the duration of symptoms should not be considered chronic.

PMID:
12750654
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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