Emotional processing and chronic lower back pain

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Emotional Processing and its Contribution to Chronic Lower Back Pain

Researchers: All are Undergraduate Students & Researchers at Oxford Brookes University.

Clare Mayall, Jill Green, Eva Winter, Sharon McInerney

Their work is supervised by Jorge Esteves, Senior Lecturer in Osteopathy.

Image with kind permission of Oxford Brookes University

backpain emotional processing scaleThe study seeks to identify whether people with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) process their emotions in a significantly different way when compared with pain free individuals. Seventy percent of adults in western cultures incur lower back pain (LBP) at some point in their lifetime and according to the Health & Safety Executive, almost 5 million working days are lost annually in the UK through back pain related sick leave. From an osteopathic perspective, CLBP is one of the most common presenting complaints in patients. However, it remains a poorly understood and treated condition. Previous research has sought to prove a link between CLBP and psychopathologies such as depression, but the evidence for this is patchy and in some cases, contradictory.

This study therefore aims to achieve a better understanding of the psychological processes that may be underpinning the CLBP experienced by patients presenting at an osteopathic teaching clinic. There will be particular focus on how patients process their emotions and the extent to which people with CLBP are different in this regard.