Objective: To identify predictive factors for work capacity in patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
Design: A descriptive, evaluative, quantitative study.
Subjects/patients: The study was based on 385 patients who participated in a rehabilitation programme.
Methods: Patients were divided into 2 groups depending on their ability to work. The groups were compared with each other with regard to sociodemographic factors, diagnoses, disability pension and number of sick days. The patient's level of exercise habits, ability to undertake activities, physical capacity, pain and quality of life were compared further using logistic regression analysis.
Results: Predictive factors for work capacity, such as ability to undertake activities, quality of life and fitness on exercise, were identified as important independent factors. Other well-known factors, i.e. gender, age, education, pain and earlier sickness certification periods, were also identified. Factors that were not significantly different between the groups were employment status, profession, diagnosis and levels of exercise habits.
Conclusion: Identifying predictors for ability to return to work is an essential task for deciding on suitable individual rehabilitation. This study identified new predictive factors, such as ability to undertake activities, quality of life and fitness on exercise.