BACKGROUND. In addition to the pain caused by low back problems, suffering may also adversely affect other aspects of patients' lives. Since there is little knowledge about the suffering caused by low back pain, a prospective cohort study was undertaken to study pain intensity, perceived health, and daily functioning of consecutive patients with low back pain presenting in general practice. METHODS. During a period of 2 years, 15 general practitioners enlisted consecutive patients with both chronic and recent-onset low back pain in the study. From the initial visit, each patient was monitored for a period of 6 months prospectively. The follow-up consisted of questionnaires mailed every 4 weeks to determine the intensity of the pain, perceived health, and daily functioning. RESULTS. Of the 605 patients identified, 430 were included in the follow-up; 6 months after the initial visit, 167 patients were lost to follow-up. At baseline, the analyses did not reveal any important differences between acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain. Pain intensity, perceived health, and daily functioning in all patients tended to resolve over time. This tendency was strongest in patients with acute low back pain. The change in pain intensity was not strongly correlated with changes in perceived health and daily functioning. CONCLUSIONS. All aspects of suffering caused by low back pain tend to diminish and resolve over time. No evidence was found of a relationship between perceived health or daily functioning and the duration of the low back pain.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Family Practice|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 1997|