The study involved 973 people in Sydney, who sought treatment for a new case of back pain. The researchers kept in touch through telephone interviews and found that 35% were back to normal in nine months and 42% within a year. Some 259 of the patients had chronic pain, but even they recovered in 12 months.
"Contrary to the view that recovery from an episode of chronic low back pain is unlikely, we found that an important proportion of patients recovered within one year," write the researchers. Luciola da Menezes Costa, a graduate student at Australia's University of Sydney was part of the team.
The details appear online in BMJ.