Attitude and Recovery From Back Pain

Having a positive attitude may actually speed your recovery from low-back pain. Most people experience back pain at some point in their lives, says Dr. Markus Melloh director of University of Otago's Centre for Musculoskeletal Outcomes Research in Otago, New Zealand. The majority of back-pain cases are self-correcting. But some cases develop into chronic back pain that can have debilitating and costly effects on people's lives.

Dr. Melloh is presenting his latest research on attitudes and low-back pain at a scientific conference in New Zealand. In Mellohs's study, researchers interviewed 315 patients when they first reported back pain. They evaluated the patients' attitudes in addition to their physical symptoms. Melloh's team then monitored 169 of those patients over the course of six months. 64% of participants developed chronic pain, and many of those participants had a negative attitude. Poor attitude included feeling hopeless, avoiding normal movement, and magnifying the seriousness of pain.

Researchers found that patients with negative attitudes were more likely to develop chronic pain. This study highlights the importance of managing the psychological effects of back pain. Other research shows that fear of movement (kinesiophobia) can also hinder recovery. If you feel depressed or hopeless in conjunction with having back pain, remember that there are safe, effective methods of relieving your pain. Talk to a chiropractor about your options of receiving both physical and psychological care.

"Attitudes to back pain significant". Mclean, Elspeth. Otago Daily Times, October 11, 2011.