European Spine Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 113–119 | Cite as

Prognosis of chronic low back pain in patients presenting to a private community-based group exercise program

  • Daniel SteffensEmail author
  • Mark J. Hancock
  • Chris G. Maher
  • Jane Latimer
  • Robert Satchell
  • Manuela Ferreira
  • Paulo H. Ferreira
  • Melissa Partington
  • Anna-Louise Bouvier
Original Article



To examine the prognosis and prognostic factors for patients with chronic low back pain presenting to a private, community-based, group exercise program.


A total of 118 consecutive patients with chronic LBP were recruited. Baseline assessments included socio-demographic characteristics, back pain history and clinical examination findings. Primary outcome measures were pain intensity and disability at 3, 6 and 12 months. Potential prognostic factors to predict pain intensity and disability at 12 months were assessed using a multivariate regression model.


112 (95 %) participants were followed up at 12 months. The majority of participants were female (73 %), had high educational levels (82 %) and resided in suburbs with a high socio-economic status (99 %). Pain intensity improved markedly during the first 6 months (35 %) with further minimal reductions up to 12 months (39 %). Interestingly, disability improved to a greater degree than pain (48 % improvement at 6 months) and continued to improve throughout the 12 months (60 %). Baseline pain intensity accounted for 10 % of the variance in the 1 year pain outcomes. Duration of current episode, baseline disability and educational level accounted for 15 % of the variation in disability at 12 months.


During a period of 12 months, patients with chronic LBP presenting to a private, community-based, group exercise program improved markedly, with greater improvements in disability than pain. The predictors investigated accounted for only 10 and 15 % of pain and disability outcomes, respectively.


Chronic low back pain Prognosis Disability Outcomes 



We thank all staff at the Willoughby and Stadium Physiocise clinics for their valuable assistance and support of this study.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Steffens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark J. Hancock
    • 2
  • Chris G. Maher
    • 1
  • Jane Latimer
    • 1
  • Robert Satchell
    • 5
  • Manuela Ferreira
    • 1
  • Paulo H. Ferreira
    • 3
  • Melissa Partington
    • 4
  • Anna-Louise Bouvier
    • 4
  1. 1.Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Human SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Physiocise, Movement for LifeSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Coast Allied HealthCulburra BeachAustralia

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