What does the research tell us about prognostic factors for low back pain?

This was an excellent systematic review (Steenstra et al 2005) of all related studies on the topic of prognostic factors for patient sick leave related to low back pain. I hope you find these factors as interesting as I did!

The following factors are associated with Longer Sick Leave

1) Higher initial disability levels (Perhaps related to fear avoidance beliefs??)

2) Older age (Older than >51 seems to be the risky years!)

3) Females (They don?t know why!)

4) Social dysfunction (Family relationships do matter!)

5) Social isolation (Ask, “Do you have any close friends or family?”)

6) Heavier work (Good luck getting a piano mover back to work in a hurry!)

7) Receiving higher compensation (Less money from comp = shorter sick leave!)

8) Low supervisor support (If you hate your boss = longer sick leave!)

9) High Body Mass Index (BMI) (Weight does matter to some degree!)

10) Poor general health

The following factors have surprisingly LITTLE or NO association with Longer Sick Leave

1) Educational level (PhD or High School Drop out?no difference!)

2) Marital status

3) Number of dependants

4) Smoking (It is a risk factor for developing LBP but does not predict chronicity!)

5) Occupation

6) Size of company

7) Physical Fitness (Believe it or not?it does not matter!)

8) Belonging to a Union

Posted on: January 11, 2008

Categories: Lumbar Spine

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