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Fear Avoidance Beliefs and Disability among Women with Low Back Pain

Author(s): Syamala Buragadda, Einas S Aleisa, Ganeswara Rao Melam


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is common among females. Many factors are associated with different levels of disability caused by low back pain, including Fear avoidance behavior. The fear avoidance beliefs of women with chronic low back pain are not clear. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess the disability level and fear avoidance beliefs of women with chronic LBP.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of 227 females with chronic LBP. Demographic information was obtained from each participant. Disabilities due to LBP and fear-avoidance beliefs were assessed using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the Fear Avoidance Belief Questionnaire (FABQ), respectively. Descriptive data were analyzed using the chi-square test and an ANOVA for continuous variables.

Results: The majority of them had minimal disability, and a higher number of episodes of LBP was associated with increased frequency in seeking health advice (p<.001) and greater interference in daily activities (p<.01). A correlation analysis showed that disability was positively correlated with scores on the physical activity (FABQ-PA; r = 0.39 at p ≤ .01) and work (FABQ–W; r = 0.26 at p ≤ .01) subscales.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first ever study done on females to investigate their health behaviors and beliefs related to disability due to LBP. Previous studies also have involved chronic condition but not considered exclusively females. Findings suggest that chronic LBPrelated disability is associated with fear avoidance beliefs. Such behavior among females should be considered while planning the management of the disability caused by LBP.

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