RRS Education Chiropractic BLOG - Musculoskeletal Research Reviews

Previous studies have shown that the natural course of low back pain is typically favorable, with most episodes substantially improving within 6 weeks. Within these studies, the majority have assessed the prognosis of acute low back pain in participants presenting for care to a clinical setting, while very few studies have assessed the prognosis of acute low back pain within a community setting. As a result, the prognosis that has been determined for the care seeking population may not be representative of the prognosis of people in the community who do not seek care.
Therefore, the aim of this study was to describe the prognosis, pain intensity and proportion of participants seeking care following an acute episode of low back pain in a community cohort.
Editor’s Note from Dr. Thistle: This study reminds us that episodes of low back pain generally have a favorable prognosis and highlights an important consideration when interpreting prior literature in this area. Specifically, there appear to be differences between patients who do, and do not, seek care for their low back pain. It makes intuitive sense that those who do not recover as quickly from an episode may be more likely to seek care, but this study should serve as a reminder to continually educate our existing patients of the relatively quick recovery time for most episodes of low back pain. This is certainly a relevant conversation to have with a new patient who you’ve just helped through their first episode, as well as existing patients who are in the common pattern of occasional ‘flare-ups’ of their back pain.
NEW RESEARCH REVIEW: “Prognosis of a New Episode of Low Back Pain in a Community Inception Cohort”
This paper was is in press in the European Journal of Pain (2023) and this Review is posted in Low Back Pain and the 2023 Archive.
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