Does a patient’s physical activity predict recovery from an episode of acute low back pain?: a prospective cohort study

Hendrick, Paul and Milosavljevic, Stephan and Hale, Leigh and Hurley, Deirdre A. and McDonough, Suzanne M. and Herbison, Peter and Baxter, G. David (2013) Does a patient’s physical activity predict recovery from an episode of acute low back pain?: a prospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 14 (April). 11/1-11/11. ISSN 1471-2474

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Abstract

Background

Advice to remain active and normalisation of activity are commonly prescribed in the management of low back pain (LBP). However, no research has assessed whether objective measurements of physical activity predict outcome and recovery in acute low back pain.

Method

The aims of this study were to assess the predictive relationship between activity and disability at 3 months in a sub-acute LBP population. This prospective cohort study recruited 101 consenting patients with sub-acute LBP (< 6 weeks) who completed the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), the Visual Analogue Scale, and resumption of full ‘normal’ activity question (Y/N), at baseline and 3 months. Physical activity was measured for 7 days at both baseline and at 3 months with an RT3 accelerometer and a recall questionnaire.

Results

Observed and self-reported measures of physical activity at baseline and change in activity from baseline to 3 months were not independent predictors of RMDQ (p > 0.05) or RMDQ change (p > 0.05) over 3 months. A self-report of a return to full ‘normal’ activities was significantly associated with greater RMDQ change score at 3 months (p < 0.001). Paired t-tests found no significant change in activity levels measured with the RT3 (p = 0.57) or the recall questionnaire (p = 0.38) from baseline to 3 months.

Conclusions

These results question the predictive role of physical activity in LBP recovery, and the assumption that activity levels change as LBP symptoms resolve. The importance of a patient’s perception of activity limitation in recovery from acute LBP was also highlighted.

Trial registration

Clinical Trial Registration Number, ACTRN12609000282280

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Physical activity, Acute low back pain, Recovery, Predictor, Cohort
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-14-126
Depositing User: Davies, Mrs Sarah
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2014 09:24
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 13:18
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2304

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