Table 2 Characteristics of the included studies
StudyCountrynOutcomesTime between onset and baselineFollow-up(weeks)Sample
Boersma and Linton28SWE185>15 Days sick leave<3 Months52Seeking care for non-chronic neck or back pain
Cats-Baril and Frymoyer21USA232Employed or not at 6 months<3 Months26New episodes attending two secondary-care clinics
Coste et al22FRA75RTW or not at 15, 30, 60 and 90 days<72 h12Self-referring to primary care, no radiation below gluteal fold
Deyo and Diehl29USA61Employed or not at 3 months78% <1 month12Clinical trial of bed-rest strategies at outpatient clinic of public hospital. Seeking compensation at baseline excluded.
Dionne et al30CAN860RTW in good health (4 categories)Mean 70.8 (SD 490) days104First time, recurrent and persistent LBP in primary care setting
Fritz et al26 27USA77RTW with or without restrictions at 4 weeksMean 5.5 (SD 4.6) days4Clinical trial comparing different PT approaches for acute, work-related LBP. Recruited from occupational care providers
Gatchel et al31USA227Disabled or not disabled at 1 year<6 Weeks52Seeking care at orthopaedic or industrial medicine clinic
Hagen et al32NOR457RTW (full duties) or not at 3 and 12 months8–12 Weeks of sick leave52Sick-listed for 8–12 weeks identified from database
Haldorsen et al33NOR260RTW or not at 3, 6 and 12 months8–12 Weeks52Sick leave for 8–12 weeks referred by national insurance office
Hazard et al34USA163Working or not due to LBP at 3 months<15 Days12Work-related injuries identified by Department of Labour and Industry database
Infante-Rivard and Lortie35CAN291RTW or not, duration of time off work81% <30 days>104Referrals to rehabilitation centre
Karjalainen et al36FIN156Duration of sick leave (0, 1–30, >30 days) at 12 months4–12 Weeks52RCT comparing interventions for subacute LBP, recruited from primary care clinics
Klenerman et al25ENG123Pain preventing work attendance or not at 12 months<1 Week52Seeking care at general practice for first or new episode
Lanier and Stockton37USA104Number of lost working days at 6 and 12 weeks<28 Days12Seeking care at family practice
Lehmann et al24USA55Able to RTW or not at 6 months, time to RTWMean 27.5 days work absence26Referred by occupational physician if between 2 and 6 weeks work absence
Nordin et al38USA162>28 days lost work time or not<1 Week4Employees of New York City Transit Authority, first episode
Ohlund et al39SWE103Duration of sick leave up to 2 years after inclusion. Return to same job at least half time or not.<7 Weeks of absence104Employees of car manufacturer identified on database
Schultz et al (2004)40CAN159RTW or not at 3 months. Number of days lost in 18 months4–6 Weeks78Identified on workers’ compensation database
Schultz et al (2005)46CAN100RTW or not at 3 months4–6 Weeks12Identified on workers’ compensation database
Shaw et al42USA291Return to work (modified, alternate or full duty) or not at 1 month<14 Days4Referral to occupational health clinic by employer or hospital
Steenstra et al23NL596Duration of work absence<2 Days26Identified on occupational health service database at a university hospital
Truchon and Cote43CAN321RTW or not at 6 months3–12 Weeks26Identified on workers’ compensation database
Turner et al44USA1068Number of days of wage replacement at 6 monthsMean 21 (SD 9.7) days26Identified on workers’ compensation database
Van der Weide et al45NL116Time to return to same number of hours over 1 yearMean 18 (SD 6.3) days sick leave52Occupational health services for health care and university workers
  • LBP, low back pain; PT, physiotherapy; RCT, randomised controlled trial; RTW, return to work.