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Attitudes, beliefs and health literacy impact how patients manage chronic lower-back pain
Date:7/6/2010

Philadelphia, PA, July 7, 2010 Approximately 10% of low back pain (LBP) sufferers experience persistent pain and significant disability. In a study published in the August issue of Pain, a group of Australian researchers investigating the relevance of health literacy in patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) found that LBP-related beliefs and behaviors affect a person's disability more than pain intensity or a standard measure of functional health literacy. However, when delving deeper into aspects of health literacy, important factors were identified which might help to explain disability associated with CLBP, highlighting important factors to consider in the delivery of information for CLBP.

Health literacy, the ability to seek, understand and utilize health information, is important for good health. Low levels of health literacy have been associated with poorer health outcomes in many chronic conditions, although this had not been studied previously in CLBP, even though CLBP imposes a significant personal and societal burden.

The health literacy of individuals with CLBP was examined using a mixed methods approach. 117 adults participated, comprising 61 with no history of CLBP and 56 with CLBP (28 with low and high disability, respectively, as determined by a median split in disability using a scoring system for characterizing disability associated with lower back. pain). The sample group consisted of Australian adults from a middle class community with a similar socioeconomic status.

Investigators collected data regarding severity of pain, LBP-related disability, fear avoidance, beliefs about LBP, and pain catastrophizing (the tendency to have a fixation about pain and feel unable to cope with it). Health literacy was measured using the Short-form Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA). A sub-sample of 36 participants with CLBP (with high and low levels of CLBP-related disability) also participated in
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Contact: Christine Rullo
c.rullo@elsevier.com
215-239-3709
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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