Psychosocial risk factors for intervetebral disc induced disease of lumbar spine

Project No. FF-FB 0200


completed 05/2013


Low back pain is a common, disabling problem with a lifetime prevalence of almost 80 % in Germany. In industrialized countries it is one of the leading causes of inability to work. Whereas previous research has shown significant associations between physiological factors and the maintenance of low back pain, little is known about the association between these factors and socio-psychological variables in people with low back pain. This review evaluates the current state of knowledge respecting the influence of psychosocial variables on chronic low back pain.


The medical database Medline (Pubmed) was searched for primary and secondary literature according to a defined strategy. In addition reference lists of relevant studies and systematic reviews were examined to identify relevant publications. Two investigators independently found 397 studies. The selection of the studies and the evaluation followed defined quality criteria and were likewise independently by two persons assessed.


From a total of 397 studies 34 were found to match the inclusion and quality criteria. The pain perception in persons with low back pain is associated with psychological factors like depression and fear.

To cover the correlation of psychosocial and lifestyle factors and pain perception of low back pain further findings are required. To get a clearer picture of pain perception in persons with low back pain a defined pain assessment would therefore be beneficial. We recommend as well that the researcher follow standardized procedures to have a greater comparability of the studies.

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



musculoskeletal disorders (except cancer), mental strain/stress

Description, key words:

Psychosocial risk factors, intervertebral disc, lumbar spine, low back pain; chronic low back pain; pain perception; psychosocial factors; systematic review