Most back pain research is devoted to identifying risk factors
for acute low back pain, or pain that is severe and short-lasting,
although long-term back pain is responsible for far more days
missed and dollars lost at work. Risk factors for chronic
are different than those for acute back pain; chronic cases
involve more individual, psychological, and workplace variables.
Is it possible to identify which acute back pain cases will
progress into costly chronic cases?
The authors of this study, published recently in Spine,
examined workers' compensation claims to determine if a variety
of factors reported by back pain sufferers at their initial
time of injury claim could distinguish those at high risk
for chronic pain. Three high-risk groups were assessed: nurses
and nurses' aides, manual workers, and drivers.
Of the 24% of claimants still receiving monetary compensation
three months after their initial claim, job dissatisfaction
and poor workplace relations were not linked to chronic low
back pain. Factors associated with progression from acute
to chronic back pain were moderate-to-severe disability, severe
leg pain, obesity, and no "light" duties available upon returning
If you injure your back on the job, be sure to talk to your
doctor of chiropractic about any symptoms that appear after
injury, even if they may seem unrelated. By obtaining the
most diagnostic information possible, your chiropractor can
help get you back on your feet and working again in a short
amount of time.
Fransen M, Woodward M, Norton R, et al. Risk factors associated
with the transition from acute to chronic occupational back
pain. Spine 2002:27(1), pp. 92-98.
To read more about back pain, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/backpain.html.