In England, the STarT Back Screening Tool has been developed to identify individual risk factors that may prolong the burden of back pain, and in Sweden the Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire has been created to identify absence from work due to pain. On the basis of these two surveys, patients can be divided into low, medium and high risk categories. The association of social and lifestyle-related factors with the risk categories of both the surveys assessing prolonged pain has not been previously studied, and the surveys have not been compared in population datasets.
A study by the University of Oulu investigated how psychological (depression, anxiety, and fear of pain avoidance beliefs) social (educational level) and lifestyle-related factors (obesity, smoking, risky alcohol consumption, physical inactivity) are linked to the risk groups of the surveys in population data.
The study uses the data on Northern Finland birth cohort 1966 members who had suffered lower back pain in the preceding 12 months. According to the study, all of the studied and clinically relevant psychological, social and lifestyle-related risk factors were significantly more prevalent in the higher risk categories of the surveys.
The STarT tool showed that 4% of men and 3% of women belonged to the high-risk category. On the basis of the Örebro questionnaire, 7% of men and 9% of women were at high risk.
Early prevention of general ailments such as low back pain is important in its treatment Targeting treatment and prevention towards those most in need and who could most benefit is the most cost-effective. Treatment based on the identification of risk categories to prevent impairment from low back pain requires further research.
A study by Licentiate of Medicine Anna Sofia Simula and her research team was published on January 14, 2020 in the Scientific Reports journal of the Nature publishing company.
Last updated: 20.1.2020