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Some Adversity Exposure May Improve Back Pain Outcomes

Back pain sufferers with some exposure have less impairment than those with high or no exposure

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among individuals with chronic back pain (CBP), those with some lifetime exposure to adverse events report less impairment and health care use than those with a high level of exposure to adverse events or no exposure to adversity, according to a study in the September issue of PAIN.

Mark D. Seery, Ph.D., of the State University of New York in Buffalo, and colleagues evaluated 396 respondents who indicated a history of CBP in an online survey and provided information on functional impairment and health care utilization. In addition, respondents had previously completed a survey of lifetime exposure to adverse events.

The investigators found significant U-shaped quadratic relationships between adversity and a number of factors, including self-rated functional impairment, disabled employment status, frequency of physician/clinic visits for CBP, prescription analgesic use, and the seeking of treatment for comorbid depression. Specifically, compared to individuals who had experienced either no adversity or a high level of adversity, those with some lifetime adversity reported less functional impairment and health care utilization.

"It appears that cumulative adversity is related to chronic pain and that this relationship merits additional investigation. These data suggest that some adversity exposure may protect against future impairment and disability, comorbid psychiatric disturbances, and heavy utilization of health care," the authors write.

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