5 key notes on localized vs. nonlocalized low back pain

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A new study published in Spine compares the epidemiology of localized and nonlocalized low back pain.

The study authors examined data from a cohort study that used baseline and follow-up questionnaires to examine patients. There were 609 patients who reported localized back pain and 3,820 patients with nonlocalized back pain. The researchers found:


1. Patients with nonlocalized back pain were associated with sciatica in the month before the survey more frequently than localized back pain patients; 48.1 percent of nonlocalized back pain patients were associated with sciatica compared with 30 percent of the localized back pain patients.


2. Nonlocalized back pain patients also reported more days within the month and year before the survey that they were unable to perform everyday activities. They also reported their pain led to medical consultation and sickness absence from work more frequently.


3. Factors associated with nonlocalized back pain include:


• Female sex
• Older age
• Somatizing tendency


4. Occupational groups affected the prevalence of both localized and nonlocalized back pain patients.


5. The study authors concluded, "Future epidemiological studies should distinguish where possible between pain that is limited to the low back and LBP that occurs in association with pain at other anatomic locations."


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