How Do Activity Behaviours Affect Beliefs in People with Chronic Low Back Pain?

Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point for different reasons. And now, research suggests this condition causes more disability worldwide than any other ailment. With aging and growing populations, low back pain is an enormous burden in developing countries. It has been expected to grow substantially over coming decades and will likely have an enormous impact on individuals, health care systems, and economies. Low back pain has been found to cause more disability than any other condition, affecting nearly 1 in 10 people.

Chronic Low Back Pain

Most often, the lower back is a target area for pain. This is because the lower back is subject to a lot of mechanical stress and strain. The weight of the upper body always puts loads on the lower back.

Chronic back pain is described as pain that persists for 12 weeks or more, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people with acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain accompanied by persistent symptoms at one year.

Why People with Chronic Back Pain Avoid Activity

While it has been known that increasing activity among people with chronic low back pain can reduce disability, people with chronic low back pain often remain relatively inactive.

The idea that pain accurately indicates whether a body part is damaged is still widely held, despite being completely out of touch with contemporary neuroscience. For instance, people with what appears to be significant tissue damage often report no pain, while others with seemingly normal scans report terrible pain.

Several forms of activity such as running and bending, which are not really harmful to the body, can also be somewhat dangerous and a potential cause of wear and tear.

People in pain avoid activity because they associate it with, of course, pain. However, there is a reason why ‘no pain, no gain” makes a sensible statement. If you exercise, it should not be a cause of major pain. When you start working the muscles you did not know you had, it is bound to cause some discomfort. Therefore, consistency is essential to help you get through. Eventually the discomfort will be replaced with strength.

Recovery from chronic low back pain is considered to be more related to clinicians rather than factors the person themselves can learn to control such as physical activity, stress management, sleep and thoughts.

Importance of Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It is essential to prevent and reduce risks of many diseases, improve physical and mental health. And can even help you live longer.

If people with chronic low back pain increase their activity levels, they would experience benefits such as:

  • Shaped beliefs and better context of what is happening to their body
  • Getting rid of fear of doing everyday activities even if they are difficult initially
  • Being empowered to regain control through active self-management strategies

Exercise is promoted as a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle. Helping people deal with chronic pain is one of the great challenges. However, encouraging greater physical activity is known to be of significant benefit.

There are a number of strategies healthcare providers can use to help patients achieve the ability to self care. These include motivational interviewing, assessing cultural beliefs, enhancing self-efficacy, and peer support.

Managing pain not just about looking at the bones and muscles and having them treated. We at Happy Physio can usher you to an active lifestyle through health programs, encouraging activity, and understanding pain.

Change the way you think about physical activity. If you have chronic low back pain, talk to a Perth physiotherapist at 9272 7359 today!