What is the prognosis of low back pain (LBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Although acute LBP has a favorable prognosis, the effect of cLBP and its attendant disability on society is tremendous. Unlike acute LBP, cLBP serves no biological purpose. It is a disorder that evolves in a complex milieu influenced by endogenous and exogenous factors that alter the individual's productivity more than the initiating pathological dysfunction would have.

If diagnostic studies do not reveal a structural cause, physicians and patients alike question whether the pain has a psychological, rather than physical, cause. Physical and nonphysical factors, interwoven in a complex fashion, influence the transition from acute to chronic LBP. The identification of all contributing physical and nonphysical factors enables the treating physician to adopt a comprehensive approach with the greatest likelihood of success.

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