Background context: The available evidence regarding low back pain (LBP) incident episodes is not consistent. Such knowledge can add information for the potential contribution of preventive programs.
Purpose: a) To evaluate annual incident episodes of LBP among the general population. b) To evaluate the contribution of demographic, lifestyle, and back pain history to LBP incident episodes.
Study design: A community-based longitudinal study.
Patient sample: A randomized sample of individuals, free of LBP at a previous cross-sectional survey.
Outcome measures: Low back pain during the past year.
Methods: Subjects were followed up after 1 year. Baseline data included back pain history, perception of general health, physical activity, smoking, work satisfaction, and demographic characteristics.
Results: Annual incident episodes of LBP were 18.4%. Those who experienced LBP during the past year had a lower baseline perception of general health and were less involved in sporting activities than those free of pain. Those without history of LBP were more likely to be free of back pain after 1 year.
Conclusions: The annual incident episodes of LBP are relatively high and relate indirectly to baseline perception of general health and to level of sporting activities. Those without history of LBP are more likely to be free of back pain after 1 year. These results raise the potential of LBP preventive programs for adult populations.