Organic status, psychological disturbance, and pain report characteristics in low-back-pain patients on compensation

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1982 Jul-Aug;7(4):398-402. doi: 10.1097/00007632-198207000-00010.


The relationship betewwn compensation and three variables--psychologic disturbance, organic status, and pain report characteristics--was assessed. Patients on compensation were clinically similar to patients not on compensation in the relative frequency of cases of psychologic disturbance and nonorganic findings in each group. Patients on compensation differed only when objective evidence of organic disease and psychologic stability was present. Under these circumstances, the compensation group used 43% more words to describe their pain and endorsed more pain qualities on five independent dimensions of pain. These results indicate that compensation primarily affects the description of low-back pain in cases where objective evidence of injury is present and leads to an intensification of sensory discomfort. Little justification was found for the atmosphere of suspicion that surrounds patients on compensation who have no evidence of organic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back Pain / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Workers' Compensation*