According to a recent study, lower back pain may be heightened if a spouse is unsupportive or critical of their partner. Published in August, the report involved observing 71 couples during a 10-minute discussion. The researchers were looking to see how a spouseís perspective could influence a patientís ability to deal with pain when they were suffering from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or a degenerative disc. After the discussion, the patients suffering from chronic back pain were asked to do a 10-minute activity which involved stretching, bending, reclining, walking, standing, and sitting, while their partner watched on. The research team measured the levels of hostility and criticism from the spouse along with how much criticism was perceived by the patient. They also monitored the patientsí depressive symptoms, pain behaviors, and pain intensity.
How Negativity Can Intensify Chronic Back Pain
It was intended for the initial 10-minute discussion to create conflict, but the amount of hostility or criticism given wasnít manipulated. The researchers were successful in creating this conflict, with all patients reporting significant increases in their feelings of sadness, anger, and anxiety. Throughout the activity, the patients who experienced greater pain and were more likely to observe greater criticism from their spouses have been found to have higher depression scores.†
Combatting Chronic Back Pain†
Speaking about the study, John Burns who was their lead researcher suggested that until now, most studies have focused on how adequate social support can positively influence someone with chronic pain. However, this study has demonstrated how negative communication from a spouse can have a harmful effect on pain patients, with these negative responses often creating a vicious cycle. Spouse criticism can cause pain among patients as expressed by straining, groaning, and grimacing up to three hours later. This can also lead to further spouse criticism up to three hours later. When someone is experiencing back pain, itís very easy to criticize, dismiss them, or even act in a hostile manner toward them. However, when a patient is enduring pain, the best type of support is to help them lead the best life they can despite their pain. For back pain sufferers, this may also include getting the help of a chiropractor. As studies suggest, this noninvasive treatment is effective at relieving this type of pain. If youíve got chronic back pain, donít suffer in silence. Seek the professional advice and care of your local chiropractor.
Source: Pain 2017.