Table 3

Statistically significant baseline risk factors for sickness absence attributed to low back pain in month before follow-up

Risk factorNo sickness absence for low back painAbsence attributed all or in part to low back painAbsence attributed only to low back pain
N*OR(95% CI)N*OR(95% CI)
No of distressing somatic symptoms in past week
 117781161.4(1.1 to 1.8)621.4(1.0 to 2.0)
 ≥213821501.7(1.3 to 2.2)681.7(1.2 to 2.4)
Absence in past year for non-musculoskeletal health problems
 >5 days710591.3(1.0 to 1.8)361.5(1.0 to 2.2)
Factors defined at occupational group level
 Prevalence of adverse beliefs about prognosis of low back pain (1 SD increase)0.7(0.6 to 1.0)0.8(0.7 to 0.9)
 Prevalence of absence (>5 days) in past year for non-musculoskeletal health problems (1 SD increase)1.3(1.0 to 1.7)1.3(1.1 to 1.6)
 Lack of social security support for long-term unemployment1.8(1.1 to 3.1)1.7(1.2 to 2.5)
Pain propensity index
 11786881.5(1.1 to 2.2)451.2(0.8 to 1.8)
 21401741.5(1.0 to 2.1)421.3(0.8 to 1.9)
 31053711.7(1.2 to 2.5)281.1(0.7 to 1.8)
 4619461.6(1.1 to 2.5)261.6(1.0 to 2.7)
 5420351.6(1.0 to 2.5)201.7(0.9 to 3.0)
 ≥6402542.3(1.5 to 3.6)211.6(0.9 to 2.9)
  • *ORs with 95% CIs derived from a single logistic regression model for each of the two outcomes that included all of the risk factors listed together with sex, age (four strata), mental health, personal adverse beliefs about low back pain (work-relatedness, prognosis), lack of support at work, time pressure at work, job dissatisfaction, availability of compensation for low back pain, group prevalence of adverse beliefs about low back pain and physical activity, and payment for primary care. Risk estimates are presented only for factors that were significantly associated (p<0.05) with at least one of the two outcomes.