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Back pain, a communicable disease?

PainSci » bibliography » Raspe et al 2008
Tags: treatment, etiology, mind, fun, back pain, spine, pro, pain problems

Two pages on PainSci cite Raspe 2008: 1. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain2. Does anxiety cause back pain?

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Back pain (BP) is a frequent disorder affecting currently up to 40% of adults in Western Europe. Most of it is said to be 'non-specific', i.e. lacking an obvious patho-anatomical explanation. It is seldom the consequence of a contagious disease caused by microorganisms. This does not exclude it from being communicable if 'communicable' is to refer to something being transmitted by sharing or exchanging information.

AIM: To propose the hypothesis of BP being a communicable disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We base our hypothesis on a reanalysis of five German health surveys. They show a wide gap in BP prevalence between West and East Germany early after reunification. The gap consistently decreased to nearly zero in 2003. Work disability data followed a comparable course.

DISCUSSION: Various processes may have contributed to the observed changes. Our hypothesis is corroborated by experimental research showing that BP-related beliefs, attitudes and behaviour could positively be influenced by media campaigns and by insights from another recent epidemic.

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