You ask a question that the scientists look at too. In an ongoing series of studies from the University of LinkÃ¶ping in Sweden, patients are surveyed every five years. Questions are asked about pain, function, and general health. The patients are also asked how often they see a health care provider for their back pain.
They recognize that one factor affecting results could be age. General health may decline with age. The scores for general health will reflect the increasing age. It's not clear if changes in pain and function can also be linked to age. The answer to this question may come as more studies are done with more people in each study.