PCORI Help Center

How is "nonspecific" low back pain (LBP) being defined?

As noted in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Funding Announcement (PFA), “For this PFA, applicants should follow the definition of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Task Force on Research Standards for Chronic Low Back Pain. This definition is ‘pain that is present on at least 50 percent of days during a six-month period, unaccompanied by pain or neurological symptoms and signs in the lower legs, and without abnormalities on imaging tests other than degenerative disk disease.[1] PCORI expects that the study population will include those individuals who have progressed from a period of intermittent episodes of LBP to the state of persistent pain.”

Please note that degenerative disk disease (DDD) is not a required inclusion criterion. Participants may not have any radiologic abnormalities other than DDD; however, the presence of DDD is not required.

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