Low Back Pain shows Maximum Improvement within the first Six Weeks
A meta-analysis of various studies done in the past to determine the prognosis of acute and persistent low back pain has shown that the maximum relief from the pain is observed within the first six weeks, after which the recovery is comparatively slow. The research, which has been published in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, was conducted by researchers from Australia and Brazil and was led by Dr. Christopher Maher, director of the Musculoskeletal Division at the George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney.
The researchers collected data from 33 studies 11,166 patients of low back pain, published in MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL. They studied the clinical course of pain and disability in these patients and tried to find out whether the pain and disability followed the same course. They observed that the maximum reduction in pain and disability occurred in the first six weeks. Thereafter, the improvement slowed down and there was only a little more improvement seen till the end of one year. However, the recovery from pain and disability was only 90% complete in patients who presented with acute low back ache. Some degree of pain and disability persisted even after the end of one year.
Compared to the patients who presented with acute low back pain, the patients who presented with persistent low back pain, showed only 50% improvement by the year end. Their pain and disability persisted to a great degree even after a year. However, even in these patients the maximum recovery took place within the first six weeks.
Low back pain is a very common problem leading to disability and is often associated with huge medical bills. It is also one of the leading causes behind absenteeism from the workplace. However, there is not enough research in this field because of the apathy shown by the funding agencies. The present research has shown that much can be done to reduce the disability and pain especially in those patients who present with persistent low back pain.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014