Low back pain has major socioeconomic implications; much of the costs relate to disability and compensation. Theoretically, the early identification of patients at risk to become disabled from a low back episode would lead to more aggressive intervention and reduction of subsequent disability. Low back disability is related to occupational, psychosocial, diagnostic, demographic, anthropometric, health behavior, and injury factors that have been reported in the literature. The multiattribute utility model is a new experimental approach to prediction of disability. The relative weights of the various factors that might be predictive of low back disability are determined by a panel of experts. Although this model is not yet scientifically proven, it offers a promising method of answering the question, “Can low back disability be predicted?”
From the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Given Building, University of Vermont.