A comparison of fear-avoidance beliefs in patients with lumbar spine pain and cervical spine pain.
STUDY DESIGN: A prospective consecutive cohort study of patients with cervical spine pain and patients with lumbar spine pain referred to an academic medical center. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the presence of fear-avoidance beliefs in a sample of patients with cervical spine pain and to compare the association of pain intensity, disability, and fear-avoidance beliefs in patients with cervical spine pain with that in patients with lumbar spine pain. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Fear-avoidance beliefs are a specific psychosocial variable involved in the development of disability from low back pain. Psychosocial variables are believed to play a role in cervical disability, but specific variables have not been investigated. METHODS: Consecutive patients referred to a multidisciplinary center completed self-reports of disability, pain intensity, and fear-avoidance beliefs during an initial evaluation session. Gender, type of symptom onset, acuity, and payer source were also recorded. Associations between disability, pain intensity, and fear-avoidance beliefs were investigated in patients with cervical spine pain and patients with lumbar spine pain. RESULTS: In all, 163 patients completed the self-reports and were included in this study. Weaker relations between fear-avoidance beliefs and disability were found in patients with cervical pain than in those with lumbar pain. Significant differences in fear-avoidance beliefs were found for gender, type of symptom onset, and payer source (workers' compensation, auto insurance, and traditional insurance). CONCLUSION: The associations among fear-avoidance beliefs, pain intensity, and disability differed between patients with cervical spine pain and patients with lumbar spine pain. Fear-avoidance beliefs were significantly different in subgroups of patients.
George, SZ; Fritz, JM; Erhard, RE
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