Think positive to reduce back pain disability says new evidence

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back pain, think positive, depression, pessimist, arthritis digestPessimistic beliefs about back pain seem to be associated with persistent high levels of low back disability, says a study in Menopause.

A research group looked at the association between beliefs about back pain and the development and progression of low back pain and disability in women over a two-year period. Beliefs about back pain and levels of back pain and disability were measured at the start of the study and two years later.

Of the 442 women who took part in the study, 108 (24.4%) had high levels of back pain and 69 (15.6%) had levels of disability.

Negative beliefs about low back pain were associated with persistent, high levels of low back disability but not persistent, high-intensity pain.

Women with persistent high-intensity pain and disability had more negative responses to belief statements about the future consequences of the condition compared with those with no, resolving, or developing pain and disability. The authors conclude:

“This study found that pessimistic beliefs about back pain were associated with persistent high levels of low back disability, suggesting that strategies aimed at improving negative beliefs may reduce the chronicity associated with this condition.”

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