Concepts of rehabilitation for the management of low back pain

Gordon Waddell, A. Kim Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter develops rehabilitation principles for the clinical and occupational management of non-specific low back pain (LBP). Rehabilitation has traditionally been a secondary intervention, which focused on permanent impairment, but this is inappropriate for LBP. Most patients with LBP do not have any irremediable impairment and long-term incapacity is not inevitable: given the right care, support and opportunity, most should be able to return to work. Rehabilitation should then address obstacles to recovery and barriers to (return to) work. Rehabilitation should not be a separate, second stage after "treatment" is complete: rehabilitation principles should be integral to clinical and occupational management. It should be possible to reduce sickness absence and long-term incapacity due to LBP by at least 30-50%, but this will require a fundamental shift in management culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-670
Number of pages16
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
Early online date8 Jun 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005


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