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Physical and Psychosocial Factors Linked to Back Pain Risk

Back PainLow back pain is a common problem experienced by most people at some point in their lives. This condition occurs due to different factors that can range from mild to severe. Chronic pain in the lower back area can occur due to muscle or ligament strain and injuries related to the bones or spines. In addition, it can arise due to heavy or strenuous work or incorrect body posture.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Report suggests that low back pain is the leading cause of disability with nearly 10% of the world’s population suffering from this condition. There are different signs and symptoms associated with this condition. The type and nature of symptoms may vary from one person to another.

A new study found that physical and psychosocial factors can significantly increase the potential risk of low back pain onset. The study was published in the Journal of Arthritis Care & Research (a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)). It was found that people who get engaged in manual tasks involving awkward or incorrect positions may increase their risk of back ache by eight times. In addition, people who experience high fatigue and weakness are likely to have higher risk of chronic back pain.

The study aimed to examine different modifiable factors that lead to acute back aches. As part of the study, researchers analyzed around 999 participants from more than 300 primary care clinics in Sydney and Australia who experienced severe pain in the lower back area. They were asked to report exposure to at least 12 physical or psychological factors within 96 hours prior to the development of pain.

It was found that the risk of new episode of back pain considerably increases due to a range of factors (from an odds ratio of 2.7 for moderate to vigorous physical activity to 25.0 for distraction during an activity). Age factor moderated the effect of exposure to heavy loads (with odds ratio for individuals of 20, 40, or 60 years of age at 13.6, 6.0, and 2.7).

The study results signify that understanding the modifiable factors that lead to low back pain is an important step for effectively controlling this condition. In addition, this will facilitate the development of new treatment approaches and prevention programs to reduce the main symptoms of this disabling condition. Reliable multi-specialty healthcare centers offer effective non-surgical treatment modalities such as physical therapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Ice or heat, massage and myofascial release for better pain management.

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