Research Project Summary

Year Funded: 2011 Budget: $119,332 Funding Agency: Workers’ Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB)
Title: Prognostic Factors for Time Away from Work in Workers with Chronic Low Back Pain
Category: Transferring Research Knowledge to the Workplace
Subcategory: Transferring Research
Keywords: Systematic review, lower back pain, time loss, return to work, prognostic factors
Link to research website:


The management of lower back injuries is complex from a medical and case management perspective. The project will undertake a systematic review of recent scientific literature to identify the factors that affect the duration of time loss from work related to lower back pain.


The project will build on the 2009 project “Prognostic Factors for Time Away From Work in Workers Away from Work Due to Acute Low Back Pain: An Update of a Systematic Review”. This project will expand the systematic review completed in the previous project to the sub-acute (6 – 12 weeks) and chronic (12 weeks to a year) phases of lower back pain to assess the factors that predict duration of sick leave. The project will also identify prognostic factors to assist in the identification of high risk patients, and factors that can be influenced by intervention in all three phases of lower back pain.

An evidence-based handbook will be developed to help direct return to work practices in Manitoba.

Anticipated Results:

The project’s results will assist medical practitioners and case mangers identify high risk individuals and/or factors that can be influenced by intervention.


Ivan Steenstra (Institute for Work and Health)