A recent study showed the significance of fear associated with movement.
The study looked at people with chronic low back pain and categorised them using questionnaires into two groups: ‘high fear’ and ‘low fear’. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the pathology (or the injury) between the two groups. I.e. the amount of fear someone has (or doesn’t have) is independent of the severity of the injury.
Participants were then asked to, at the sound of a beep, bend forward and then return to their upright posture.
Fearful participants tended to initially hesitate to move AND also ‘freeze’ before changing the direction of the movement - indicating excessive protective behaviour towards the lumbar structures and/or their pain experience.
Why is this significant? Perhaps it’s time to change the narrative of “PROTECTING our backs” and “BRACING our cores” and instead find joy in exploring movement and improve the understanding of the strength of the lumbar spine and the different factors influencing pain.
Osumi, M., Sumitani, M., Otake, Y. et al. (2019) Kinesiophobia modulates lumbar movements in people with chronic low back pain: A kinematic analysis of lumbar bending and returning movement. Eur Spine J pp1-7