Presentation M P15

M P15 (Poster Presentation):
Prognostic factors for time away from work in workers with chronic low back pain: A systematic review

Presented by: Ivan A Steenstra


Steenstra IA1, Munhall C1, Irvin E1, Van Eerd D1, Mahood Q1, Hogg-Johnson S1, Oranye N2, Busse J3, Passmore S2

  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
  3. McMasters University, Hamilton, Canada



Between 2-33% of patients with acute low back pain (lbp) become chronic pain patients. The proportion of time loss attributed to back pain has also systematically been increasing from 25.2% in 2000; 27.5% in 2003; to 28.3% in 2006. Lbp and resulting time off work has a considerable impact on the individual, employers and compensation agencies. The objective of this review is to determine the factors that predict RTW from the sub-acute and chronic stage of a lbp related episode of time away from work and explore hypothesised differences between stages.


A search of PubMed, EMBASE and PsycINFO from inception to February 2012 was conducted. Retrieved references were screened for relevancy independently by two reviewers and when consensus could not be reached a third reviewer was consulted. The quality of relevant references was assessed using a quality appraisal form developed by the research team and necessary data was extracted. All prognostic factors identified in the literature were grouped based on a priori categories. Results will be presented as Levels of Evidence and when possible results will be pooled.


The search retrieved 5027 references and 81 were included in the quality appraisal and data extraction stages. Of the included studies 18.7% were low, 34.7% medium and 46.7% high quality. During data extraction, 482 prognostic factors were identified and grouped into three broad categories: clinical (n=281), psychological (n=79) and social/workplace (n=122). Within each of these categories prognostic factors were further grouped into 41 categories such as age, pain, workplace characteristics, diagnosis etc. Some prognostic factors such as pain will be pooled in a meta-analysis and others that are more heterogeneous, such as workplace organization, will be presented in a narrative summary.


Results will be presented in a Fall 2014 stakeholder workshop to gain further insight about the prognostic factors as well as to guide the development of a handbook that can be used by clinicians to improve care. This review will provide insight into the factors that affect RTW among individuals at the sub-acute and chronic stages of time away from work due to LBP.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Determinants of RTW