The association between symptom severity and physical activity participation in people seeking care for acute low back pain
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To investigate the association between symptom severity and physical activity participation in people with acute non-specific low back pain (LBP).
The sample included a total of 999 patients who presented to primary care with an acute episode of low back pain. Symptom severity, in terms of activity limitation and severity of pain; and physical activity participation before (habitual) and after pain onset were assessed using self-report questionnaires. All participants were interviewed within 14 days of pain onset.
At interview most of the participants (87.5 %) reported having moderate to extreme activity limitation due to back pain. There was a significant decrease in physical activity participation after pain onset (mean difference: −176 min, 95 % CI 327–400; p < 0.0001) but no association between habitual or change in physical activity participation and symptom severity was observed (p > 0.21).
Pain onset causes a significant and immediate decrease in physical activity participation, but this change does not seem to be associated with symptom severity.
KeywordsPhysical activity Acute pain Low back pain Activity limitation
The authors would like to thank Mrs. Anurina Das for helping with data collection.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest. They also would like to state that they have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review data if requested.
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