Rehabilitation in light of different theories of health: Outcome for patients with low-back complaints - a theoretical discussion
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The aim of this thesis was to investigate if the outcome of rehabilitation efforts is depending on what view health care has in relation to what need of care people have and if the outcome for different groups of patients with low-back complaints (specific versus non-specific complaints) is various successful. The outcome is measured in length of sick leave, number of spells and granted sickness and disability pensions.
This thesis combines a theoretical analysis of different theories of health with studies of two empirical materials. One material comprises a group of individuals with low-back complaints (specific versus non-specific complaints) from a nation-wide survey of Living Conditions conducted by Statistics Sweden in 1981. The other material comprises a sample of individuals on sick leave either due to low-back complaints or other kinds of complaints than low-back complaints. The outcome of these studies are measured as to what extent people with low-back complaints are granted a disability pension (Paper III) and which the characteristics are of those on sick leave due to low-back complaints compared to those with other kinds of complaints (Paper IV). The results from Paper III revealed a difference concerning socio-economic group and granted disability pension between those with specific, non-specific and frequent low-back complaints. Those with non-specific and frequent low-back complaints were to higher extent manual workers and disability pensioners. The results of Paper IV reveals also a socio-economic difference besides that those with low-back complaints had longer sick leave periods and more spells.
What does these results indicate? Are non-specific and frequent low-back complaints not successfully treated within the health care system? Is this due to how these matters have been identified? Are these individuals truly disabled due to their low-back complaints, if so how are they assessed and treated? I believe that the notions of health and disease as well as the social context in which people act influence the outcome of rehabilitation. If people judge their health as bad (here due to low-back troubles) and in need of health care and the health care system do not recognise their need when not identified as diseased a problem arises. These individuals claim that their ability to work is hampered due to the low-back complaint and the society has an obligation and needs a legitimate solution for those individuals that cannot support themselves due to ill health. This obligation makes a demand on the health care system.
If non-specific complaints are assessed as non-medical problems, from a biomedical point of view, health care lacks measures to take care of these people if they ought to be taken care of within the health care system at all. But this outcome (a disability pension) may also indicate that people suffer from a “true” illness although not defined by objective findings. If that is the state one may ask if there is a lack of sufficient diagnostic procedures and measures as well. A rehabilitation approach stemming from a humanistic social perspective might lead to a more favourable outcome for people with low-back complaints, whether or not these complaints have been identified in a biomedical sense, as this perspective take into account both the goals, the resources and the social context of that individual.
This thesis has paid attention to the matter that conceptual notions, which seldom are considered within clinical praxis, are of vital importance for the outcome of rehabilitation. Health care falls short especially when it comes to non-specific and frequent low-back complaints and this may be due to the biomedical model being used too strictly within a domain where other models, here exemplified as Pörn’s Theory of Health, might result in a more favourable rehabilitation outcome for the individual.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university , 2001. , 66 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 760
Low-back complaint, self-report, sickness absence, social class, education, occupation, physical capacity, work capacity, work environment, social support, ADL, perceived health and smoking
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject Physiotherapy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33475ISBN: 91-7305-135-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33475DiVA: diva2:313391
2001-11-23, Sal B, 9 trappor, Tandläkarhögskolan, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Harms-Ringdahl, Karin, Professor
Janlert, Urban, Professor
List of papers