What is the role of environmental and social influences in the prognosis of chronic low back pain (cLBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Environmental and social influences may play the strongest role in determining the patient's prognosis for chances of recovery. Job dissatisfaction or conflict is a key predictor of chronic LBP with disability. Compensated unemployment may reinforce chronicity in these cases. Family, financial, and legal issues also affect chronicity. A patient with chronic LBP may be unable to return to a previous job that was strenuous or involved heavy lifting and may be poorly equipped to pursue alternative vocational options because of a lack of education. Older individuals may have reduced capacity for work and less vocational potential; therefore, loss of compensation becomes an overriding issue.


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