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Predicting Chronic Back Pain

As many as 7 out of every 10 people will suffer, for some amount of time, from lower back pain (LBP). Not all cases of LBP develop into chronic conditions. A team of British researchers became interested in the correlating factors specific to people who develop long-term back pain conditions. Their study, published in The Journal of Pain, suggests that strong upfront intensity and negative mental outlook can both make the pain persist.

How does chronic back pain develop?

The major indicating factor for a person’s development of chronic LBP is how excruciating the pain is when it first starts. The more extreme the lower back pain is, the higher the likelihood that pain will become a long-term concern; that continues to be the case even half a decade after the condition first arises.

For the study, the self-assessed pain ratings of almost 500 subjects were reviewed. The study looked at data from two different follow-up appointments: half a year and five years after the patient first visited a physician. The back pain in each patient was measured by question and answer, using a system called the Chronic Pain Grade.

The study looked at characteristics of the patients across a broad spectrum, including body type, career, race, and emotional perspective. At the six-month mark, the severity of pain made it 12% likelier that chronic back pain or disability would be present. At that same time, the perspective that the pain was not going to go away made chronic conditions 4% more common.

When the same factors were measured at the five-year point, pain severity was less crucial while a negative attitude was more important. Severity had 9% correlation with chronic LBP and disability, and a pessimistic mindset rose to a 6% correlation.

What the findings mean

The study suggests that treating back pain quickly could help to prevent many people from experiencing chronic LBP. Its findings are in line with earlier research that drew a similar connection between initial pain and chronic pain, but this study reviewed a more substantial stretch of time than prior efforts.

Additionally, the idea that pain will not go away seems to work in opposition to the potential for recovery. Poor psychological mindset of study subjects made chronic conditions more likely, regardless of numerous other variables.

If you are experiencing back pain, it’s good to know that simply being positive can increase your chances of recovery. Wellness Plus Clinic believes in your potential for a pain-free life, and our multidisciplinary treatments are designed with success in mind.



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