Prediction of functional disability, recurrences, and chronicity after 1 year in 180 patients who required sick leave for acute low-back pain

J Spinal Disord. 2000 Dec;13(6):470-7. doi: 10.1097/00002517-200012000-00002.


The aim of the study was to identify factors that predict low-back pain outcome at 12 months and thus to identify patients at risk for poor long-term outcomes. One hundred-eighty patients, all disabled by acute low-back pain, were included. Outcome (dependent) variables were Oswestry disability score, recurrences during the study year, and chronicity defined as 90 or more days off work for low-back pain during the study year, or a disease-specific sick-leave rate (a variable created by the authors) of more than 25%. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was performed. Thirty-three percent of the patients had an Oswestry score greater than 25, indicating moderate disability at the 1-year follow-up evaluation. Pain on coughing at study entry predicted a high likelihood of disability at 1 year, with a threefold risk. Many work days missed as a result of low-back pain in the past 2 years and lack of stimulating work tasks predicted recurrences during the year. A high Oswestry score assessed at study entry was the only factor that predicted chronicity. The factors revealed in the current study should help the clinician to identify patients at risk. The authors propose that the revealed predictors should be investigated extensively at the patient's first visit for acute low-back pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Sick Leave*
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Diseases / rehabilitation*