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Low back pain spread down leg/below knees, past 3 months

Codes and Frequencies

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LEGPAIN3MO identifies sample adults who had low back pain that "spread down either leg to areas below the knees" during the past 3 months. This question was only asked of sample adults who acknowledged having "low back pain" during the past 3 months (LBPAIN3MO).

The interviewer preceded these questions 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.

Related Variables 

This inquiry was part of a set that inquired about five specific pains for sample adults during the past 3 months. Along with asking about low back pain that "spread down either leg to areas below the knees," interviewers asked about neck pain (NECKPAIN3MO), low back pain (LBPAIN3MO), 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).

In 2007, respondents were asked to report whether sample children experienced abdominal pain (ABPAINYR), back or neck pain (BACKPAINYR), or other chronic pain (OTHPAINYR) during the past 12 months.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Sample adults age 18+ who had low back pain during the past 3 months.


  • 1997-2018