HealthDay News — Patients’ baseline pain and the perception that their pain will persist significantly predict worse short- and long-term outcomes for low back pain, according to researchers.

Baseline pain intensity conferred a 12% increased risk and patients’ belief that their low back pain would persist conferred a 4% increased risk for clinically significant pain (score of 2, 3, or 4 on the Chronic Pain Grade) at six months, Paul Campbell, PhD, from Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Pain.

Over five years, the predictive power of baseline pain intensity for significant pain decreased from 12% to 9%, whereas patient perceptions of their pain persisting upped the risk from 4% to 6%.

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“Our findings add to those from other studies and indicate that a combined approach (ie, pain management and addressing patient’s beliefs) early in the treatment process may be beneficial in averting a maladaptive and potentially harmful belief for patients with LBP,” the researchers write.

Targets for future clinical interventions include better pain management that takes into account identify and modifying patients perceptions of their future back problems. The researchers also called for more studies to help understand the relationship between pain and patient beliefs.


  1. Campbell P et al. J Pain. 2013; 14(8): 873-883.