The belief that all pain is typically a direct result of tissue damage and that work or activity is to be feared has held sway since the early 20th Century. This type of thinking was dominated by biomedical concepts. Over recent years an extensive body of research has evolved showing that while biological indices are important, they represent only part of the defining factors for the diagnosis and management of disease. The biomedical model has been built upon and is now seeking to include psychological and social factors.
This biopsychosocial approach states that ill health and disease are the result of an interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. The biopsychosocial model describes the psychological and social effects of disease risk, prevention, treatment compliance, morbidity, quality of life and survival. It prescribes a careful but streamlined approach that can be applied to back pain in clinical settings.