• low back disorders;
  • occupational medicine;
  • risk factors;
  • lifting;
  • posture;
  • vibration;
  • prevention;
  • quality assurance;
  • quality improvement


This clinical practice review of occupational low back disorders describes work-related risk factors, occupational history, physical evaluation, clinical tests, diagnosis, care, and prevention. It is part of a quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) effort to establish exemplary occupational practice standards. It emphasizes the involvement of occupational medicine physicians in exposure assessment, care of injured workers, and disease prevention. Important occupational risk factors such as lifting, awkward body posture and vibration, in addition to psychosocial, socio-economic and other factors are summarized. The focus is on mechanical back disorders. Return-to-work, rehabilitation and prevention strategies are discussed as part of integrated disability management involving the injured worker, the primary care provider, employers and other relevant parties. Am. J. Ind. Med. 37:94–111, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.