Low back pain (LBP) is described as highly recurrent and frequently persistent public health worldwide. The “stay active” concept has been regarded as the most appropriate treatment recommendation for patients with acute LBP. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of distress on disability, physical activity and pain intensity in subjects with severe acute LBP.
Methods A Randomised Control Trial (RCT) was conducted, 99 employed subjects (mean age 45 years, 20–63), 61% white- and 39% blue-collar workers with acute LBP were examined within 48 h after the onset of pain. All patients were initially assessed using the Depression Anxiety and Positive Outlook Scale (DAPOS) and the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK) questionnaires. Thereafter, the patients documented the following in a diary over a 7-day period: pain intensity, disability rating index (DRI) and step count (pedometer). Linear Mixed Models (LMM) for repeated measures were employed for the statistical analyses. All results were adjusted for age, gender, treatment, number of days and for the interaction term (treatment *DAPOS-D).
Results Prospectively, DRI and pain intensity responses were differentially mediated by the treatment, in interaction with the scores of DAPOS (p<0.05). Patients with high scores on DAPOS exhibited higher risk for worse pain-disability after follow-up. Additionally, patients with higher baseline scores on TSK (>38) had a lower step count over time (p<0.05).
Conclusion Depressed mood and fear of movement affect the outcomes of disability, the level of physical activity and the pain intensity in patients with acute LBP.
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