(HealthDay News) – Patients’ baseline pain and the perception that their pain will persist are significant predictors of poor outcomes for low back pain (LBP) over the short and long term, according to a study published in the August issue of The Journal of Pain.

Paul Campbell, PhD, from Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied 488 patients who saw their physician about LBP. Patients were assessed at six months and five years. A score of 2, 3, or 4 on the Chronic Pain Grade defined clinically significant LBP at follow-up. Thirty-two potential predictive factors were categorized as demographic, physical, psychological, and occupational.

The researchers found that baseline pain intensity conferred a 12% increased risk of poor outcomes at six months (relative risk [RR], 1.12), and patients’ belief that their LBP would persist conferred a 4% increased risk (RR, 1.04). The same factors seen in the six-month model – pain intensity (RR, 1.09) and a belief that their LBP would persist (RR, 1.06) – also predicted outcomes at five years.

“This study has shown that pain intensity experienced during a period of primary care consultation, and patients’ perception about whether their back pain will persist, were significant predictors of poor outcome at six months and at five years,” the authors write.

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