A longitudinal, community-based study of low back pain outcomes

Tamar Jacob, Mario Baras, Aviva Zeev, Leon Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives. To assess the report of low back pain (LBP) over 1 year and its predictors in individuals reporting symptoms during an initial cross-sectional survey. Study Design. A longitudinal community-based study. Summary of Background Data. The natural history of LBP is poorly understood. Different studies report various rates of persistent and recurrent symptoms as well as different predictors of outcomes. Methods. Subjects from a single town in Israel reporting low back pain during the previous month were followed up after 2 and 12 months. The primary outcome was experiencing LBP and the secondary outcomes were pain and functional status as measured by the Roland & Morris Disability questionnaire and Pain Symptoms Frequency and Bothersomeness Indexes. Results. More than three fourths reported LBP (different levels of severity) after 2 and 12 months. This group did not show an improvement in pain measures. Baseline pain characteristics and perception of general health were predictors of both primary and secondary outcomes. Work satisfaction and experiencing a negative event during the past months were also predictors of the secondary outcomes. Conclusions. In this community-based study, LBP symptoms after 1 year are common and symptoms of those experiencing LBP at follow up do not improve over time. Predictors of experiencing LBP and of LBP symptoms after 1 year included baseline pain characteristics and psychosocial factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1817
Number of pages8
Issue number16
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2004


  • Emotional status
  • Low back pain
  • Outcome
  • Predictors


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