Systematic review of the ability of recovery expectations to predict outcomes in non-chronic non-specific low back pain

J Occup Rehabil. 2009 Mar;19(1):25-40. doi: 10.1007/s10926-008-9161-0. Epub 2009 Jan 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Employment / psychology
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function