Wertli MM et al
Spine J. May 2014
Psychological factors including fear avoidance beliefs are believed to influence the development of chronic low back pain (LBP).
The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic importance of fear avoidance beliefs as assessed by the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) and the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia for clinically relevant outcomes in patients with nonspecific LBP.
The most convincing evidence was found supporting fear avoidance beliefs to be a prognostic factor for work-related outcomes in patients with subacute LBP (ie, 4 weeks-3 months of LBP), researchers found an increased risk for work-related outcomes (not returning to work, sick days) with elevated FABQ scores. Fear avoidance beliefs in very acute LBP (<2 weeks) and chronic LBP (>3 months) was mostly not predictive.
Evidence suggests that fear avoidance beliefs are prognostic for poor outcome in subacute LBP, and thus early treatment, including interventions to reduce fear avoidance beliefs, may avoid delayed recovery and chronicity.