Functioning and disability in persons with low back pain

Johanna Jonsdottir, Giovanni Rainero, Vittorio Racca, Andrea Glässel, Alarcos Cieza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of using the ICF framework to investigate functioning and disability in persons with low back pain (LBP) and to study the extent to which the capacity level for various domains of functioning is different from the performance level. Method.The study was part of the MHADIE project and reports baseline data collected in 118 patients with LBP using the ICF Core Sets for LBP. The statistical analysis consisted of descriptive statistics. Results. A total of 76 ICF categories reached the 20% threshold: 20 body functions, 8 structures, 28 activities and participation and 20 environmental factors. The percentage of persons having problems in capacity is always higher than the percentage of persons having problems in performance. Conclusions. This study shows the potential value of the capacity-performance distinction, both as a conceptual and practical tool that can enhance clinical treatment and intervention planning and as a method to capture the impact of the environment on the lived experience of people suffering from LBP. What is needed are longitudinal investigations that are able to identify and track the patterns that such conditions exhibit and further enhance the effectiveness of treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • classification
  • disability
  • function
  • ICF
  • low back pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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