For patients with low back pain, what limits physical performance? Their pain or their mood?

This chicken-or-the-egg question has puzzled researchers for years. Patients with low back pain typically have more pain with physical activity. Studies suggest that they also score lower on measures of mental health. Which comes first in determining their physical performance? Do depression and anxiety cause pain in physical activity? Or does pain in physical activity create depression and anxiety?

Researchers recently looked at the performance of low back pain patients on a treadmill. How long could patients walk? And what made them stop? Half of the patients stopped walking because of pain. Though patients with poor mental health were more likely than others to stop walking because of pain, mental health actually didn't influence the number of minutes patients walked. Pain was more important to patients' physical performance. This suggests that poor mental health may be a result of having pain in physical activity, rather than a cause.

Certainly, this kind of question is best answered on a case-by-case basis. For many patients with low back pain, both physical and emotional issues must be addressed to get the best results from treatment.

 Post to

 Email to a Friend

*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Back to top

MySpace Tracker