Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Discovery of Back Pain Recovery

What's the definition of "back pain?" And how do you know if or when you're "recovered?" The authors of this study searched medical journals on-line looking for answers. They found 36 articles reviewing cases of back pain in the general public.

According to the results, 62 percent of adults who have back pain still have painful symptoms one year later. One-third miss work due to relapses of pain. Even patients who return to work aren't always fully recovered. Many leave their jobs, reduce their workload, or find less demanding work.

Studies reporting patients "recovered" within one month may really only be showing that patients stopped seeing their doctor. Back pain may change, but absolute recovery occurs in only one of every four patients. This is much lower than the currently reported 80 to 90 percent recovery rate.

The authors report that a standard definition of back pain doesn't exist. In the overall picture, low back pain doesn't go away by ignoring it. Future studies are needed to find a precise definition of LPB, which can further guide health providers to even better solutions.


Lise Hestbaek, et al. Low Back Pain: What is the Long-term Course? A Review of Studies of General Patient Populations. In European Spine Journal. April 2003. Vol. 12. No. 2. Pp. 149-165.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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