Predicting outcome in acute low-back pain.
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Patients presenting to their family physician with acute low-back pain were studied prospectively. Demographic factors and patient history at the initial visit were assessed to determine important predictors of selected clinical outcomes, including time to resumption of normal activities and time to relief from pain. While several predictors were significantly correlated with each of the outcomes assessed, the most consistent predictor of outcome proved to be the reported pain intensity at the initial visit. Baseline levels of pain intensity were related to expected time of recovery and probability of periodic pain in the future. Data collected in the initial history and physical examination of patients permit an assessment of factors that may be useful in establishing prognosis for relevant clinical outcomes.
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