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Europa Medicophysica 2004 March;40(1):9-13

Copyright © 2004 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Epidemiology and natural history of low back pain

Dunn K. M., Croft P. R.

Primary Care Sciences Research Center Keele University, Keele, UK


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Low ­back ­pain is a com­mon prob­lem af­fect­ing ­most ­adults at ­some ­point dur­ing ­their life­time. At any one ­time, ­around 1 in 5 ­adults ­will re­port symp­toms of low ­back ­pain, ris­ing to 40% ­when ­asked if ­they ­have ex­pe­ri­enced symp­toms dur­ing the pre­vi­ous ­month. The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence an epi­sode of low ­back ­pain ­will im­prove ­over ­time. However a size­able pro­por­tion ex­pe­ri­ence re­peated epi­sodes or re­cur­rences, and ­some re­port con­tin­u­ous symp­toms for ­many ­years. A ­wide ­range of fac­tors are ­linked to ­both the on­set and per­sis­tence of low ­back ­pain. Some stud­ies ­have re­lated age and gen­der to low ­back ­pain, but the ­link over­all is equiv­ocal. Work-re­lated fac­tors ­such as ­heavy lift­ing, and so­cio-dem­o­graphic fac­tors ­such as smok­ing and obes­ity ­have ­been ­linked ­with the on­set of low ­back ­pain. High lev­els of func­tional im­pair­ment and the pres­ence of ­pain ra­di­at­ing to the leg ­have ­been ­cited as fac­tors as­so­ciated ­with a ­poor prog­no­sis ­among pri­mary ­care con­sul­ters ­with low ­back ­pain. Other char­ac­ter­is­tics as­so­ciated ­with ­both the de­vel­op­ment and the per­sis­tence of low ­back ­pain in­clude psy­cho­log­i­cal fac­tors ­such as de­pres­sion and anx­iety and work­place fac­tors ­such as job sat­is­fac­tion. Low ­back ­pain ­places ­large de­mands on ­health, so­cial and wel­fare ­systems. Further re­search is ­needed to iden­tify prac­ti­cal inter­ven­tions to re­duce ­this bur­den ­from low ­back ­pain.

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