Objective: The aim of the current review was to determine the predictive strength of low recovery expectations for activity limitation outcomes in people with non-chronic NSLBP.
Methods: A systematic review of prognostic studies was performed. Included studies took baseline measures in the non-chronic phase of NSLBP, included at least one baseline measure of recovery expectation, defined as a prediction or judgement made by the person with NSLBP regarding any aspect of prognosis, and studied a sample with at least 75% of participants with NSLBP.
Results: Recovery expectations measured using a time-based, specific single-item tool produced a strong prediction of work outcome. Recovery expectations measured within 3 weeks of NSLBP onset provide a strong prediction of outcome. It is not clear whether predictive strength of recovery expectations is affected by the length of time between the expectation measure and outcome measure.
Conclusion: Recovery expectations when measured using a specific, time-based measure within the first 3 weeks of NSLBP can identify people at risk of poor outcome.