Being Afraid To Move May Worsen Osteoarthritis and Obesity
Pain-related fear means being afraid to move or do things that might cause pain in your joints or different parts of the body. Fear of pain was directly associated with diminished movements, increasing inactivity, and risk for further weight gain, according to a small study conducted by Duke University behavioral scientists.
The scientists presented results from a small study (106 patients enrolled), looking at the relationship between pain-related fear and physical function in obese patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Accepting the relationship between increasing weight and disease severity, these investigators look to associate the psychological effects of pain fear and physical disability, looking at length of stride, walking velocity and range of motion in patients with a mean body mass of 35 kg per meter squared (obese), 77 percent of whom were women.
The study found that the majority of affected patients feared movements which might cause acute knee pain, with obvious implications for their behavior.
Fear of pain was directly associated with diminished movements, increasing inactivity, and risk for further weight gain. The authors concluded that interventions which alter patients' perception of vulnerability, the encouragement of weight loss, and training in coping skills might positively affect obese patients at risk.
The researchers are planning a new study comparing the benefits of behavioral conditioning in several treatment groups.