Study design: Prospective inception cohort study.
Objective: To investigate prospectively whether pain-related fear predicts future perceived disability and participation in patients with acute low back pain (LBP).
Summary of background data: There are indications that fear of movement/(re)injury, as measured by the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia, is present early in an episode of LBP, and that it might be a predictor of future perceived disability and participation.
Methods: A cohort of 555 patients with acute LBP included by general practitioners and physical therapists in primary care settings was followed for 6 months.
Results: Results indicate that baseline fear of movement/(re)injury was predictive of future perceived disability and, to a lesser extent (and together with duration and radiation), of participation.
Conclusions: The results suggest that interventions aimed at reducing pain-related fear in the acute stage of LBP might prevent restrictions of activity and participation because of pain, and might be a way of preventing the transition from acute to chronic LBP.