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In this review: Risk Factors Associated With Transition From Acute to Chronic Low Back Pain in US Patients Seeking Primary Care (JAMA Network Open)

The Message

Nearly one in three people with acute low back pain eventually wind up with chronic LBP, according to a study that tracked patients over six months. That's a rate "much greater than historically appreciated," authors of the study write.

But it gets worse: The risk of eventual chronic LBP increases in relation the amount of care patients receive that's inconsistent with LBP treatment guidelines — care such as opioid prescriptions, use of imaging, and referral to a subspecialty such as physiatrists, orthopedists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, or pain specialists. The researchers also found a strong correlation between risk of a transition to chronic LBP and scores on a measure commonly used to assess risk of persistent LBP-related functional limitations — a connection they say had not been established before.

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