Review Article

Physiotherapy and low back pain - part iii: outcomes research utilising the biosychosocial model: psychosocial outcomes

L. D. Bardin
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 59, No 2 | a202 | DOI: | © 2003 L. D. Bardin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 January 2003 | Published: 17 February 2003

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L. D. Bardin, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

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A comprehensive understanding of low back pain (LBP)
has evolved that necessitates the use of a biopsychosocial model, focusing on illness rather than disease and incorporating the biological, psychological and social aspects that are important to understand and to study LBP in its chronic form. Traditional outcome measures that measure elements within the biological component are limited to assess the spectrum of impacts caused by chronic low back pain (CLBP) and the validity, reliability and sensitivity of some of these measures has been questioned.Few physiologic tests of spine function are clinically meaningful to patients, objective physical findings can be absent, and in CLBP disability and activity intolerance are often disproportional to the original injury. Biological outcomes should be complemented by outcomes of the psychosocial aspects of back pain that measure the considerable functional and emotional impact on the quality of life of patients experiencing low back dysfunction. Outcomes research is an analysis of clinical practice as it actually occurs and can  make a valuable contribution to understanding the multidimensional impact of LBP. Psychosocial aspects of the biopsychosocial model for outcomes research are discussed in part III: functional status/disability, psychological impairment, patient satisfaction, health related quality of life


outcomes research; low back pain; biopsychosocial model; outcome measures functional status; disability; psychological impairment; patient satisfaction; health related quality of life


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