Transient low back pain development during standing predicts future clinical low back pain in previously asymptomatic individuals

The aim of this study was to determine if development of transient low back pain (LBP) during prolonged standing in people without past history of LBP predicts future clinical LBP development at higher rates than in individuals who do not develop LBP during prolonged standing. Prolonged standing has been seen to trigger transient LBP in 40% to 70% of previously asymptomatic individuals. Individuals who develop pain during standing have been found to have altered neuromuscular profiles prior to the standing exposure compared with their pain free counterparts; for this reason, it has been hypothesized that these individuals could have higher risk for LBP disorders. Previously asymptomatic participants who had completed a biomechanical study investigating LBP development during standing and response to exercise intervention completed annual surveys regarding LBP status for a period of 3 years. χ2 analyses were performed to determine group differences in LBP incidence rates. Accuracy statistics were calculated for ability of LBP development during standing to predict future LBP. Participants who experienced transient LBP during standing had significantly greater rates of clinical LBP during the 3-year follow-up period (35.3% vs. 23.1%) and were 3 times more likely to experience an episode of clinical LBP during the first 24 months than their non-pain developing counterparts.

Transient LBP development during extenede periods of standing is a positive predictive factor for future clinical LBP in previously asymptomatic individuals. Individuals who experience transient LBP during standing may be considered a “preclinical” group who are at increased risk for future LBP disorders.