Background: The prevalence estimates of LBP are so far well documented. However, only few longitudinal studies have described the variability of LBP in the same population over time. Therefore, little is known about the course of LBP at the individual level. Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe changes in low back pain (LBP) reporting over an eight-year period in a cohort of adult Danes. Methods: A cohort of 625 men and women, aged 40, was randomly sampled to be representative of the general population. Questions about LBP were asked at the age of 41, 45, and 48. Two definitions of LBP were investigated: “Trivial LBP” (any reported LBP during the past month) and “Non-trivial LBP” (reporting more than 30 days with LBP during the past year with consequences: sick leave, healthcare contacts or limitations in participation). Prevalence rates at the three different times were reported and the course of LBP was visualized. Results: The response rate was 66%, 56%, and 47%, respectively. The prevalence rates of different types of LBP did not change significantly across this eight-year period (trivial: 42%, 48%, 40%; non-trivial: 18%, 20%, 20%). Around 50% of those with LBP reported the same type of LBP next time and 10-25% had a fluctuating pattern of reporting. This was true for both definitions of low back pain. Discussion: This study confirms that LBP is a recurrent condition for a large proportion of people in the forties. It also confirms that the presence of LBP indicates a major risk of future LBP.
Low Back Pain, adults, epidemiology
Main Research Area:
The British Society for Back Pain Research - Annual General Meeting: The life course of back pain - are we making a difference?, 2010