Content » Vol 47, Issue 9

Original report

Prognosis and course of work-participation in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain: A 12-month follow-up cohort study

Karin Verkerk, Pim A.J. Luijsterburg, Annelies Pool-Goudzwaard, Martijn W. Heymans, Inge Ronchetti, Harald S. Miedema, Bart W. Koes
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rochussenstraat 198, 3015 EK Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2006


Objective: To investigate the clinical course of, and prognostic factors for, work-participation in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.
Methods: A total of 1,608 patients with chronic non-specific low back pain received a multidisciplinary therapy and were evaluated at baseline and 2-, 5- and 12-month follow-ups. Recovery was defined as absolute recovery if the patient worked 90% of his contract hours at follow-up. Potential factors were identified using multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Results: Patients reported a mean increase in work-participation from 38% at baseline to 82% after 12 months. Prognostic factors for ≥ 90% work-participation at 5 months were being married (odds ratio (OR) 1.72 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.12–2.65)), male (OR 1.99 (95% CI 1.24–3.20)), a higher score on disability (OR 1.00 (95% CI 0.997–1.02)) and physical component scale (Short-Form 36 (SF-36)) (OR 1.05 (95% CI 1.02–1.07)), previous rehabilitation (OR 1.85 (95% CI 1.14–2.98)), not receiving sickness benefits (OR 0.52 (95% CI 0.24–1.10)) and more work-participation (OR 4.86 (95% CI 2.35–10.04)). More work-participation (OR 5.22 (95% CI 3.47–7.85)) and male sex (OR 1.79 (95% CI 1.25–2.55)) were also prognostic factors at 12-month follow-up.
Conclusion: At 12 months 52% of patients reported ≥ 90% work-participation. The strongest prognostic factor was more work-participation at baseline for the recovery of chronic non-specific low back pain.

Lay Abstract


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