Factors affecting recovery from work-related, low back disorders in autoworkers

Denise M. Oleske*, Janani Neelakantan, Gunnar B. Andersson, Bradley G. Hinrichs, Steven A. Lavender, Mary J. Morrissey, Phyllis Zold-Kilbourn, Emily Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Oleske DM, Neelakantan J, Andersson GB, Hinrichs BG, Lavender SA, Morrissey MJ, Zold-Kilbourn P, Taylor E. Factors affecting recovery from work-related, low back disorders in autoworkers. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:1362-4. Objective To simultaneously evaluate personal, medical, and job factors that could affect recovery from work-related, low back disorders, specifically focusing on an active working sample. Design Observational, longitudinal study. Setting Two US automotive plants. Participants Employees (N=352; 289 men, 63 women; mean age ± standard deviation, 45.1±7.5y) who were active hourly autoworkers, diagnosed with work-related, low back disorder by the plant's medical department. Interventions Not applicable. Main outcome measure Oswestry Disability Questionnaire for back pain was used to evaluate recovery. Results Factors associated with better recovery were lower stress levels (P<.001) and exercise or physical activity outside work (P<.001); factors associated with higher disability levels over time were current cigarette smoking (P<.01) and bedrest (P<.001). Conclusions Personal modifiable factors are major influences in the recovery from work-related, low back disorders, even in active working populations. Interventions aimed at increasing exercise and decreasing stress should also be considered as a part of rehabilitation in employed persons with low levels of disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1362-1364
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Back pain
  • Disabled persons
  • Exercise
  • Occupational health
  • Prognosis
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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