News on Health & Science

Crippled By Backache? It’s All In ‘Mind’

Suffering from severe back pain? It’s all in the mind, says the latest study.


Researchers at the University of Lbeck in Germany have found that people develop back pain from reading about the problem or hearing family, friends and work colleagues moan about their own aches.

According to the researchers, the mind eventually gets tricked into thinking the body is in pain, even when there has been no obvious injury or trigger, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.

They came to the conclusion after analysing the health trends of people after the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. Despite four decades of separation, the two populations shared the same genetic makeup.

But, shortly after the reunification, 69 per cent of East Germans were found to be affected by back pain compared with 84 per cent of their neighbours in West Germany.

By 2003, the number of people in former East Germany complaining of back pain had risen to almost the same as in West Germany, noted the researchers who have blamed lame increased exposure to media reports for the condition.

They claim only around 15 per cent of back problems can be attributed to an underlying physical cause — such as a trapped nerve or slipped disc. Most other cases, have no obvious trigger.

The researchers wrote in the International Journal of Epidemiology: “In West Germany, back pain is said by the media to be frequent and unavoidable, a rising tide that is mostly due to physical wear and tear.

“It’s described as a leading and acceptable cause of work disability. After reunification, all those ‘myths’ and misconceptions about back pain being pervasive in Western societies immediately spread to East Germany.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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