Past Adversity Helps Chronic Low Back Pain Sufferers Deal With it


Some adversity in life helps those with chronic back pain, according to a study in the journal Pain.

Some adversity in life helps those with chronic back pain, according to a study in the journal Pain.

The study was led by Mark Seery, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo, and colleagues, and finds that individuals that have experienced some diversity “go on with their lives with little physical disabilities and come to spend less time with their doctors or health clinics.

“This study of 396 adults with chronic back pain (CBP) found that those with some lifetime adversity reported less physical impairment, disability and heavy utilization of health care than those who had experienced either no adversity or a high level of adversity,” Seery said, in a press release.

“The data suggest that adversity-exposure also may protect against psychiatric disturbances that occur with CBP and additional analyses found no alternative explanations of our findings,” he said.

The study included a sample from a nationwide represented web-enabled, population-based panel formed via traditional probability sampling.

Evaluations were given from 2001 to 2003 to subjects through mail or online. The respondents amitted having chronic back pain when submitting their physical health status in the internet survey.

“A lifetime experience to 37 unpleasant experiences were completed in a survey.”

The respondents described their accounts of “functional impairment, disabled employment status, frequency of back pain treatment, prescription painkiller use, and whether they currently sought treatment for co-morbid psychiatric disorders.”

“It appears,” says Seery, “that adversity may promote the development of psychological and social resources that help one tolerate adversity, which in this case leads to better CBP-related outcomes. It may be that the experience of prior, low-levels of adversity may cause sufferers to reappraise stressful and potentially debilitating symptoms of CBP as minor annoyances that do not substantially interfere with life.”

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