Don’t be surprised when your back starts aching even when you haven’t performed any strenuous movement yet.
Researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland reviewed roughly two dozen studies and found a distinct pattern. Data collected in Belgium, Canada, and the U.S., for instance, reveals that people who feared pain resulting from any form of physical activity often experience painful sensations. Nick Ng of the Guardian Liberty Voice reports:
“A recent systematic review of 21 studies published in May 2014 in The Spine Journal showed that patients with the highest risks for fear-avoidance beliefs are those with subacute low back pain for four weeks to three months. Dr. Maria Wertli, M.D., from the University of Zürich and her colleagues who conducted the review found that among four cohort studies, patients who had fear avoidance beliefs were less likely to return to work.”
Fear avoidance, in this instance, is the aversion to pain-inducing activities (like jumping off a diving board) as a protection mechanism from pain itself. First outlined by scientists in 1983, the fear-avoidance model has been instrumental in chronic pain research and has helped scientists understand how “fearing pain can actually cause pain.”
This is agliophobia (fear of pain) at work, but it’s not accurate to say that this study is the first of its kind. Over the years, scientists have studied the relationship between fear of pain and the actual pain occurring. For instance, in 2006, researchers from Stanford University found a solid relationship between the two.
According to Lorimer Moseley, physiotherapist at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, fear avoidance can have serious implications. Among other things, it can prevent people from partaking in various meaningful activities, which can result in depression. As the pain from fear avoidance sets in, the model comes full circle and repeats itself.
It’s not as if pain will go away just by assuring the patient that “it won’t hurt a bit.” In any case, a seasoned Memphis chiropractor can play a crucial role in easing a patient’s agliophobia. In this regard, a study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine recommends educating patients on the treatment.
Perhaps the adage “[pain] is all in the mind” has some truth to it. By educating patients on what to expect during and after treatment, a chiropractor in Memphis can prevent them from turning away from their much-needed treatment. There’s no need for low back pain to get worse due to fear of the pain getting worse.
(Source: “Fear Can Cause Chronic Low Back Pain [Video],” Guardian Liberty Voice, May 5, 2014)