Juliana Leme Gomes, M. Kingma, S. J. Kamper, C. G. Maher, P. H. Ferreira, A. P. Marques, M. L. Ferreira

March 2015, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 452 - 457 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-015-3763-y

First Online: 18 January 2015


To investigate the association between symptom severity and physical activity participation in people with acute non-specific low back pain (LBP).


The sample included a total of 999 patients who presented to primary care with an acute episode of low back pain. Symptom severity, in terms of activity limitation and severity of pain; and physical activity participation before (habitual) and after pain onset were assessed using self-report questionnaires. All participants were interviewed within 14 days of pain onset.


At interview most of the participants (87.5 %) reported having moderate to extreme activity limitation due to back pain. There was a significant decrease in physical activity participation after pain onset (mean difference: −176 min, 95 % CI 327–400; p < 0.0001) but no association between habitual or change in physical activity participation and symptom severity was observed (p > 0.21).


Pain onset causes a significant and immediate decrease in physical activity participation, but this change does not seem to be associated with symptom severity.

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