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Risk factors for developing chronic back pain

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Risk factors for developing chronic pain or long term disability (yellow flags):

  • belief that pain and activity are harmful
  • sickness behaviours such as extended rest
  • social withdrawal
  • emotional problems, for example low/negative mood, depression, anxiety, stress
  • problems with claims or compensation or time off work
  • overprotective family or lack of support
  • inappropriate expectations of treatment, for example low expectations of active participation in treatment (1)


1. Nguyen TH, Randolph DC. Non specific low back pain and return to work. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(10):1497-502

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