The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Epidemiological differences between back pain of sudden and gradual onset

Smedley, Julia, Inskip, Hazel, Buckle, Peter, Cooper, Cyrus and Coggon, David (2005) Epidemiological differences between back pain of sudden and gradual onset The Journal of Rheumatology, 32, (3), pp. 528-532.

Record type: Article


Objective: to explore possible differences in risk factors for low back pain according to its speed of onset.
Methods: we analyzed longitudinal data from 1366 hospital nurses in England who initially had been free from low back pain for at least one month. Risk factors were ascertained from a self-administered baseline questionnaire, and outcomes from serial followup questionnaires. Hazard ratios (HR) for developing a first new episode of low back pain during followup were derived by Cox regression.
Results: low back pain with gradual onset was significantly associated with psychological symptoms measured at baseline [HR 1.7 (95% CI 1.2, 2.4) and higher], but no such association was seen for sudden pain. Low back pain with sudden onset while at work was associated with exposure to specific patient-handling tasks [HR 1.8 (95% CI 1.1, 3.0) to 2.8 (95% CI 1.4, 5.5)]. However, symptoms that came on suddenly elsewhere were not related to occupational activity, and low back pain of gradual onset showed little relation to patient-handling.
Conclusion: these findings suggest that a useful distinction can be made according to the speed and circumstances of onset of low back pain. If confirmed, they have important implications for the evaluation of ergonomic interventions aimed at reducing back pain.

PDF 24511.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Download (847kB)

More information

Published date: March 2005
Keywords: health personnel, lifting, low back pain, occupational diseases, psychosocial factors
Organisations: Community Clinical Sciences, Nursing & Midwifery


Local EPrints ID: 24511
ISSN: 0315-162X
PURE UUID: d2465e9c-60bd-49e2-a763-080d45a72f56
ORCID for Hazel Inskip: ORCID iD
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD
ORCID for David Coggon: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:13

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.