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Table 1 Descriptions of the defined trajectory subgroups

From: How can latent trajectories of back pain be translated into defined subgroups?

Principal dimensions of trajectory subgroups Terminology for labelling Suggested definition
  Mean scores 0–10 Numerical Rating Scale
Severe pain 6–10
Moderate pain 4–5
Mild pain 2–3
Minor pain/Recovery a 0–1
Ongoing pain An individual’s pain intensity stays within mean +/− 1-point (0–10 NRS)
Pain reported >4 days per week
Fluctuating pain Variation in pain intensity exceeds 2 points*, without periods of no pain (0) lasting ≥1 month [21]
Episodic pain Experiencing more than one period of pain over 1 year separated by periods with no pain (0) lasting ≥1 month
Single episode Experiencing one episode lasting  ≤ 2 weeks within 1 year
Change pattern (likely to be most relevant for clinical populations)
Rapidly improving pain Marked decrease in pain intensity within 1 month
Gradually improving pain Marked decrease in pain intensity occurring gradually over more than 1 month
Progressing pain An overall pattern of increasing pain intensity
  1. aOur interpretation of the definition of fluctuations was that the difference between minimum and maximum pain intensity exceeded 2 points
  2. From Kongsted A, Kent P, Axen I, Downie AS, Dunn KM. What have we learned from ten years of trajectory research in low back pain? BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2016; 17: 220