The Understanding Persistent Pain Where it ResiDes Study of Low Back Pain Cohort Profile

Luke C. Jenkins, Wei Ju Chang, Valentina Buscemi, Matthew Liston, Michael Nicholas, Thomas Graven-Nielsen, Paul W. Hodges, Valerie C. Wasinger, Laura S. Stone, Susan G. Dorsey, James H. McAuley, Siobhan M. Schabrun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite chronic low back pain (LBP) being considered a biopsychosocial condition for diagnosis and management, few studies have investigated neurobiological risk factors thought to underpin the transition from acute to chronic LBP. The aim of this research is to describe the methodology, compare baseline characteristics between acute LBP participants and pain-free controls, and compare LBP participants with or without completed follow-up. One hundred and twenty individuals experiencing acute LBP and 57 pain-free controls were recruited to participate in the Understanding persistent Pain Where it ResiDes (UPWaRD) study. Neurobiological, psychological, and sociodemographic data were collected at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months. Ninety-five participants (79%) provided outcome data at 3-month follow-up and 96 participants (80%) at 6 months. Compared to controls, LBP participants in the UPWaRD cohort were older, had a higher BMI, a higher prevalence of comorbidities, and higher medication usage. Higher depression, anxiety and stress, lower pain self-efficacy, and higher pain catastrophising during acute LBP were correlated with higher 6-month pain and disability. This cohort provides novel and significant opportunities to increase understanding of neurobiological risk factors of LBP. Future findings endeavour to provide new targets for treatment and prevention of chronic LBP. Additional priorities include exploring epigenetic and proteomic biomarkers of poor LBP outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 28 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Physiotherapy New Zealand. All rights reserved.


  • Acute to Chronic
  • Demographic
  • Low Back Pain
  • Neurobiological
  • Psychological
  • Social


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