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Had low back pain, past 3 months

Codes and Frequencies

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LBPAIN3MO identifies sample adults who had "low back pain" during the past 3 months. Those who gave an affirmative response were asked, "Did this pain spread down either leg to areas below the knees?" (LEGPAIN3MO).

The interviewer preceded this question by reading the statement, "Please refer to pain that lasted a whole day or more. Do not report aches and pains that are fleeting or minor." The Field Representative's Manual for 1997-2000 reinforced this point by stating, "'Pain' is respondent-defined, but must have lasted a whole day or more or have occurred several (more than 3) times during the past 3 months." This latter directive was not, however, routinely shared with respondents during the interview.

This inquiry was part of a set that inquired about specific pains for sample adults during the past 3 months. Along with asking about low back pain, interviewers asked about neck pain (NECKPAIN3MO), low back pain which "spread down either leg to areas below the knees" (LEGPAIN3MO), facial ache or pain in jaw muscles or joint in front of ear (FACEPAIN3MO), and severe headache or migraine (MIGRAIN3MO). An additional question included in 2002 identified sample adults who had "recurring pain" during the past 12 months (PAINYR).


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1997-2018