Low back pain does not resolve itself when ignored

Denmark: natural course of low-back pain.

There have been several studies over the past few years refuting the traditional claim that “90% of low-back pain patients get well within a month if left untreated.” In this study Hestbaek, Leboeuf-Yde, et al. from the University of Southern Denmark further investigated the myth of natural remission, firstly by doing a systematic literature review and secondly by reporting with data from 2,000 LBP patients they have been studying for more than five years. They conclude it is now clear “that low-back pain does not resolve itself when ignored”. Supporting data includes:

  • In their new study in Denmark, only 10% of people with LBP report they are pain-free both 1 and 5 years after their initial episode of pain and care.
  • On a systematic review of all the literature, 62% of LBP patients report that they still have pain one year after their initial episode.

Hestboek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Engberg M et al. Abstract, Proceedings of the 6th Biennial Congress, 2001, World Federation of Chiropractic, 247.

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