Why some of us develop back pain and why others don’t?
Silje Endresen Reme’s talks about the common phenomenon of back pain; why some people develop chronic pain and disability while others don’t, and what psychology has to do with it. Silje is a PhD. from Uni Health, Uni Research, Bergen & Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.
During her studies, she considered all the people having back pain but having no organic findings that could explain the amount of pain seen in this group. She realised that there is little corroletion of what we see on the scan of the back and the pain intensity experienced by the patient. Neither can the biomechanical and anatomical findings.
In 10-15 % of the case, there is a specific cause but for the vast majority of them, there is no physical cause that can explain this amount of disability or pain.
So what is going on? Is it all in the mind? And do we deal with it?
Silje decided to get a better look at these people, 600 workers, who are they and what are the factors in the transition from acute to chronic back pain.
Her findings (working with a smaller group) show that back pain is actually one part of the problem. She observed that the occurrence of additional complaints (other problems in their life) was very high. 99% of them mentioned other health problems with an average of 10 complaints in average (from work problem to emotional: job stress, conflict at work, social anxiety, chronic fatigue, depression, low work coping, sleeping problems, loneliness, activities limitations, migraines and… mother in law).
She then decided to explore a little bit more what was going on and which factors are most able to explain why people develop back pain and go on sick leave while others don’t. The group was 500 people suffering from chronic pain.
Surprisingly, the strongest predictors were not what we could have expected. They are anatomical or biomechanical but psychosocial factors! It’s all about how you are doing emotionally or socially at work or at home.
She gives an example of a construction worker, struggling with back pain who told her that, although he had a heavy job, the insecurity in the job market, the instability, resulted in a constant fear of losing his job. That was the anxiety that kept him up all night.
Consequently, at the end of the research, she could predict with a very high accuracy, just few days after the pain had started, who will develop chronic pain and who won’t! And more than that, she was able to say what characterised them, if it’s because of the job, the activities limitations or the emotional distress that was making the pain worse.
In that way, they can tail a treatment even before they develop the vicious circle they will be trapped in.
Finally the studies mentioned here are coming to light and there is more openness than there was. The interest in the brain and the mind in chronic pain has meant that more studies are published every week. We keep learning so much.
The Lightning Process is the result of those findings. It is a tool powerful and simple, using the neuroplasticity and encompassing all the predictors in your life.
Working the field of neuroplasticity and chronic pain induced by stress (an article will be soon posted on this same blog about the stress/Flight or fight response and the endocrine system), we have regularly observed those predictors and their harmful influence. We know how to reduce significantly their affect.
If you have chronic pain, then don’t hesitate to contact us. I’ll explain what we do and how this tool work, no stings attached!