In developed countries, the Back pain affects more than 70 percent of the population at some point in their lives, and lower back problems are the main cause of health care demand in adults, causing an annual cost equivalent to 1.7% of the Gross Domestic Product.
More than 70% of the costs generated by low back pain are also attributed to chronic patients (those who suffer back pain for more than three months) despite the fact that they represent less than 20% of the total.
Dr. Francisco M. Kovacs, president of the Kovacs Foundation and co-author of the study, affirms that most of these costs are due to the decrease in the activity of those affected, especially to sick leave, which highlights the importance of prevent or reduce the disability of those affected.
Due to the high prevalence of back complaints and their consequences, a group of Spanish researchers has carried out a study, recently published in the journal Pain Medicine, to determine the influence of the psychological factors about the degree of disability caused by these pathologies. 52 doctors and psychologists of the Kovacs Foundation, several Universities, and 123 patients treated in Units of Pain of nine Spanish hospitals participated in this study.
Previous research had found that the disability generated by low back pain was directly associated with feelings such as fear and catastrophism, that is, those patients who dramatized their situation, suffered a more limiting pain
Dr. Jenny Moix, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, explained that previous research had found that the disability generated by back pain was directly associated with feelings such as fear and catastrophism, is say, that those patients who dramatized their situation, suffered a more limiting pain.
In other studies it has been observed that, in addition, cultural factors influence psychological factors and, for example, studies conducted with Spanish patients showed that some of these factors, such as avoidance behavior, catastrophism or even fear, did not produce no relevant effect on them.
Research with Spanish patients has shown that the level of anxiety presented by these patients is the only psychological factor that is related to the degree of disability caused by back pain. But understanding this level of anxiety, as Professor Moix explains, as anxious as an individual (trait of his personality) and not as anxiety that can show in a particular situation or time.
Dr. Kovacs points out that, according to the data obtained, new studies are needed to check whether back pain and the resulting disability "is worse in those patients with more anxious personalities" and if, if so, establish targeted treatments To reduce the anxiety of those patients, it would also improve their pain and the disability they suffer.
Source: Kovacs Foundation