Low back pain

Predictors of absenteeism, residual symptoms, functional impairment, and medical costs in Oregon workers' compensation recipients

Patricia G. Butterfield, Peter Spencer, Nadia Redmond, Adrianne Feldstein, Nancy Perrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Wide variations in disability duration and magnitude have been noted among recipients of workers' compensation for low back pain. Findings from recent studies have indicated that inclusions of a broad array of variables (i.e., physical, occupational, social, economic) is needed to understand difference in workers' responses to occupational low back pain. Methods: Workers' compensation and questionnaire data from 340 Oregon workers with low back claims were merged to develop multivariate models predicting: (1) absenteeism days, (2) residual symptoms, (3) functional impairment, and (4) medical costs. Results: Forty-two percent of the variation in low back symptoms was explained by: discontinuing physical fitness activities post- injury (β = -.419), self-reported low energy/high fatigue (β = -.227), poorer general health (β = .137), and attorney involvement in claim (β = .117), (adjusted R2 = .418, p <0.001). Survival curves revealed significantly longer claim durations among workers who discontinued physical fitness activities post-injury, compared with workers who did not; these differences remained significant even after controlling for severity of the initial injury. Conclusion: Continuation of physical fitness activities during this the recovery process was found to be a significant predictor in three of four regression models, providing evidence on behalf of a relationship between fitness and positive health outcomes. However, it was not possible to clearly different pre-morbid from post-injury fitness, nor to determine if this relationship was due to a therapeutic effect on the back, the general restorative benefits of remaining active, or represents a proxy variable for workers' self-care efforts during recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume34
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998

Fingerprint

Workers' Compensation
Absenteeism
Low Back Pain
Physical Fitness
Costs and Cost Analysis
Wounds and Injuries
Exercise
Lawyers
Health
Proxy
Therapeutic Uses
Self Care
Fatigue
Economics

Keywords

  • Absenteeism
  • Disability
  • Low back pain
  • Occupational health
  • Worker's compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Low back pain : Predictors of absenteeism, residual symptoms, functional impairment, and medical costs in Oregon workers' compensation recipients. / Butterfield, Patricia G.; Spencer, Peter; Redmond, Nadia; Feldstein, Adrianne; Perrin, Nancy.

In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 34, No. 6, 12.1998, p. 559-567.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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