Back complaints in the elders (BACE)

The primary aims of BACE are to: 

  • Describe the clinical course (pain, disability, quality of life) of people aged 55 years & older who visit Sydney primary care with a new episode of back pain. 
  • Identify prognostic factors for persistent back pain, falls, loss of independence, hospitalisation & institutionalisation in these people.
  • Determine the burden to the patient of the initial episode & of a persistent episode (chronic – greater than 3 months duration) in terms of pain, disability, quality of life.


We will recruit 600 older people (≥ 55years) who present to primary care for a new episode of acute back pain. Putative prognostic factors will be measured at baseline & outcomes monitored over two years.