Quality of Life in Conservatively Treated Lumbar Disc Disease

  • C. Schneider
  • M. Hefti
  • H. Landolt
Reference work entry


Degenerative  Lumbar Disc Disease is the most common cause of Low Back Pain and sciatica. Generally affecting younger individuals during their most productive period of life, Lumbar Disc Disease is responsible for a substantial socioeconomic impact on society. As it accounts for a significant functional impairment, it has a distinctive impact on all dimensions of a person’s perception of well being and general health, and directly influences a patient’s Quality of Life.

Treatment options have made great progress during the last decades and usually lead to good recovery with acceptable functional outcome.

However, in a relevant fraction of patients, the development of a chronic pain syndrome cannot be averted. Studies about that unfavorable development delineate multidimensional influences on the clinical course: behavioral, social, psychological, ethnical, cultural and economical cofactors all affect the recovery process. Therefore, the assessment of Quality of Life in patients with Lumbar Disc Disease is of great importance when evaluating treatment strategies.

In this chapter, the impact of conservatively treated Lumbar Disc Disease on Quality of Life assessment instruments in 486 patients is provided. As a condition-specific assessment instrument, the “North American Spine Society spinal questionnaire” was chosen, returning a “Pain and Disability Score” of 2.9 (1.7 in normative data, range 1–6, 1 meaning no affection) and a “Neurogenic Symptoms Score” of 2.9 (1.7 in normative data, range 1–6, 1 meaning no affection).

In addition, the effect of Lumbar Disc Disease on a general health assessment instrument (“SF-36 questionnaire”) is presented. All eight SF-36 items suffer a significant impact compared to normative data.

The authors emphasize the importance of a multidimensional approach when treating patients with Lumbar Disc Disease. Quality of Life assessment should be part of the treatment plan and might identify patients with prolonged recovery, needing early psychological or rehabilitative support to improve outcome.


Assessment Instrument Chronic Pain Syndrome Cauda Equina Syndrome Fail Back Surgery Syndrome Lumbar Disc Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


bodily pain


computerized tomography


 failed back surgery syndrome


functional magnetic resonance imaging


general health


low back pain


lumbar disc disease


 lumbar disc herniation


mental health


magnetic resonance imaging


National Spine Network


neurogenic symptoms scale


North American Spine Society


pain and disability scale


physical functioning


quality of life


role functioning – emotional


role functioning –physical


social functioning


short form 36 questionnaire




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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Schneider
  • M. Hefti
  • H. Landolt

There are no affiliations available

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