December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4)

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Research Plus

Acute low back pain

This systematic review finds strong evidence that return to work (RTW) following acute lower back pain (LBP) is influenced by the worker’s recovery expectations, injury severity, self-reported pain, modified duties, physical workplace factors, job satisfaction and choice of healthcare provider (type of treatment offered). There is moderate evidence that the psychosocial work environment and having made a previous claim influence RTW time. Depression is not a factor affecting RTW from acute LBP (though is a predictor for chronic back pain). Lifestyle factors, pain catastrophising and education (strong evidence) and the results of a clinical examination (moderate evidence) are not predictive of time away from work.

Systematic review of prognostic factors for workers’ time away from work due to acute low-back pain. Toronto: Institute for Work and Health, 2011.


Occupational Health at Work December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4) pp40