(HealthDay News) – Not all patients with low back pain (LBP) seek medical care, with female sex, LBP frequency, limitations in activities of daily living, and fear-avoidance beliefs contributing to increased odds of seeking care, according to a study published in the May 20 issue of Spine.

Anne F. Mannion, PhD, from Schulthess Klinik in Zurich, and colleagues examined the correlation between LBP beliefs and care seeking using data from questionnaires mailed to a random sample of 2,507 participants from an epidemiological study of musculoskeletal health. Participants were questioned about sociodemographics, LBP characteristics, and LBP-related care seeking, and completed the Back Beliefs Questionnaire (BBQ) and the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ; physical activity and work scales).

The researchers found that 43% of participants reported current LBP, of whom 28% had sought care. Care seeking was significantly related to female sex; increasing age; not working full time; lower income; greater LBP frequency; LBP intensity; limitations in activities of daily living; worse general health; and higher FABQ-Physical Activity, FABQ-Work, and BBQ scores in univariate analyses. Factors that contributed significantly to the final model included female sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.731); LBP frequency (OR, 1.492); limitations in activities of daily living (OR, 1.010); and high FABQ-Work Scores (OR, 1.025) in multiple regression.

“That the odds of seeking care are higher in fear-avoidant individuals, even when controlling for other established predictors, emphasizes the importance of addressing such beliefs during the consultation; public health education programs may serve to underpin the delivery of positive messages, ultimately reducing health care demands,” the authors write.

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