Living with Back Pain : a Biopsychosocial Analysis of Contributing Factors

Oraison, Humberto Manuel (2016) Living with Back Pain : a Biopsychosocial Analysis of Contributing Factors. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Back pain is a major health problem in the Western World impacting on individuals, their families and the whole society. Back pain causes significant economic costs due to health expenses and absenteeism from work. Most cases of back pain respond well to treatments and are resolved within weeks. However, some individuals do not respond well to medical treatments and experience persistent back pain that becomes chronic in nature. Chronic back pain is characterised by its duration and its poor response to medical interventions. The literature researched indicated that in most cases the experience of chronic back pain is heavily influenced by psychosocial factors, which impact on individuals more than the original injury or disease. There is limited literature in relation to biopsychosocial factors and treatment up-take. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of biopsychosocial factors in the experience of chronic back pain. It was hypothesised that biopsychosocial factors would have an impact on the number of treatments received and the level of disability reported. A total of 201 adult participants (men and women) completed a battery of questionnaires that collected demographic information, psychological distress, social support, pain levels and disability scores. The findings indicated that psychosocial factors had a greater impact on the number of treatment sessions and reported disability than level and/or duration of pain. Education level was the strongest marker for both hypotheses with tertiary educated participants reporting significantly higher numbers of treatment sessions and lower disability scores. The findings of this study supported the Biopsychosocial Model of Health and the Theory of Social Causation. In addition, the findings supported previous research that advocated that a diagnosis of chronic back pain is a unique condition different from acute or temporary pain. Furthermore, the findings supported the creation of new diagnostic and measurement tools for chronic back that include psychological and social measures in addition to biological indicators. Finally, the findings offered renewed backing for interdisciplinary approaches to the treatment of chronic back pain in light to its multifaceted nature.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords pain management, socio-economic status, culture, wellbeing, social support, education, BPS, socio-demographic, social factors, psychological contributors, depression, anxiety, life control, affective distress, functionality, work, employment, living arrangements, Australia
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