Background: Patients with back pain can show one or more features of spinal osteoarthritis (OA), such as morning stiffness, limited or painful range of motion (ROM), and lumbar disc degeneration (LDD). However, it has not been investigated whether these features are prognostic of long-term back pain. Objectives: This study assessed whether spinal morning stiffness, ROM and LDD are prognostic factors for back pain after 1 year in older adults with back pain. Methods: This prospective observational study (BACE cohort) included patients aged > 55 years visiting a general practitioner for a back-pain episode. Baseline patient-reported morning stiffness, physical examined ROM and radiographic LDD features (i.e., multilevel osteophytes and disc space narrowing) were analysed as potential prognostic factors in unadjusted and adjusted regression models with the outcomes of persistent back pain (yes/no) and back pain severity after 1-year follow-up. Results: This study included 543 patients with mean (SD) age 67 (8) years, 59% female, and 62% reporting back pain at 1-year follow-up. When studied in separate adjusted models, persistent back pain was associated with morning stiffness > 30 min (OR 3.0, 95%CI 1.3; 5.5), restricted lateroflexion (OR 1.8, 95%CI 1.0; 3.2), pain during rotation (OR = 1.7, 95%CI 1.0; 2.9), multilevel osteophytes (OR 2.4, 95%CI 1.4; 4.1), and multilevel disc space narrowing (OR 1.5, 95%CI 0.9; 2.4). When investigated in the same adjusted model, persistent back pain remained associated with only morning stiffness > 30 min (OR 2.4, 95%CI 1.0; 3.9), pain during rotation (OR 1.6, 95%CI 0.9; 2.8), and multilevel osteophytes (OR 2.1, 95%CI 1.2; 3.7). The same spinal OA-related features were associated with back pain severity. Conclusions: Spinal morning stiffness, painful rotation, and multilevel osteophytes are prognostic factors for persistent back pain and back pain severity after 1 year. Evaluating these clinical and radiographic features of spinal OA could help clinicians identify older patients who will experience long-term back pain.

, , , , , ,,
Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Department of General Practice

van den Berg, R. (Roxanne), Chiarotto, A, Enthoven, W.T.M, de Schepper, E.I.T, Oei, E.H.G, Koes, B.W, & Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M. (2020). Clinical and radiographic features of spinal osteoarthritis predict long-term persistence and severity of back pain in older adults. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. doi:10.1016/