Science In Brief

Chiropractic Literature Review


The Study: Individual courses of low back pain in adult Danes: a cohort study with 4-year and 8-year follow-up.

The Facts:

  1. The authors sought to determine the impact of low back pain on a subject over a period of time.
  2. They wished to know how often subjects that had a course of low back pain experienced a recurrence.
  3. They also wished to find out how common low back pain was in the population.
  4. Six hundred and twenty five (625) subjects, all Danish men and women age 40, were invited to participate in the study
  5. Out of those, 412 participated by answering a survey at age 41.
  6. Participants were followed up again at ages 45 and 49.
  7. Of the original 412 subjects, 348 again participated in the four year follow up and 273 participated in the final follow up.
  8. Subjects were asked whether they had suffered from trouble in the lowest part of their back in five different ways (the researchers termed these different "definitions") that indicated having pain at different times from within the last month to the last year, whether the pain had affected daily activities, if they sought care for the condition in the past year and from what type of health provider. The authors also sought to determine if the subjects had suffered from the problem for more than 30 days in the last year.
  9. g. They found that on the surveys at ages 41, 45 and 49 the subjects had suffered low back pain in the last year at a rate of 69, 68 and 70% respectively and in the last month at a rate of 42, 48 and 41% respectively.
  10. "More than half of those who had reported LBP within a certain definition did the same at the next survey..."
  11. Eleven percent of those who had experienced more severe back pain also reported back pain on follow up.
  12. While the rate of low back pain at each follow up was fairly constant, it is noteworthy that it was not necessarily the same subjects reporting low back pain at each test.
  13. "...LBP is a common, changeable condition that increases the odds of future LBP."

Take Home:

Low back pain is common. Patients who suffer from LBP are at increased odds of having a future episode(s) but while the rate of low back pain remained pretty constant the individuals were not necessarily the same over the years.

Reviewer's Comments:

This is pretty much what we already knew from clinical experience. If you had low back pain you were more likely to have it in the future but it isn't always true that you will. Low back pain is very common and as such our role in caring for this condition is important.

Reviewer: Roger Coleman DC

Editor: Mark R. Payne DC

Reference: Kjaer P, Korsholm L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Hestaaek L, Bendix T. Individual courses of low back pain in adult Danes: a cohort study with 4-year and 8-year follow-up. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Jan 21;18(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12891-016-1377-0.

Link to Abstract:

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