Thoughts on Pain, Physical Activity, and Body in Patients With Recurrent Low Back Pain and Fear: An Interview Study

Maria André, Mari Lundberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore thoughts and ideas about the body and pain in patients with nonspecific low back pain (LBP) who have a high degree of fear of movement.

METHODS: Patients with nonspecific LBP and a high degree of fear of movement, as measured using the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, were asked to participate in the study. Individual semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 participants. The material was analyzed using content analysis with an inductive approach.

RESULTS: From these patients' stories, an overarching theme-decreased confidence in the body becomes a barrier to living life to the fullest-emerged. This theme was further divided into 4 subthemes: (1) "What is wrong with my body?"-the constant search for an explanation; (2) searching for the right way to move; (3) loss of mobility means a lack of meaning in life; and (4) the message from health care professionals guides feelings, thoughts, and movement behavior.

CONCLUSION: This study indicates that the message of keeping physically active when experiencing LBP has succeeded, but patients with fear require support to feel secure and have enough confidence in their body to move and exercise. Clinicians need to better incorporate evidence-based practice for patients with fear and support them so that they can apply an understanding of pain to their bodies and their every day life.

IMPACT: These results offer guidance for health care professionals to enhance their practice by providing more updated information to their patients who have recurrent LBP and fear. With better support, patients may be able to regain confidence in their bodies and live their lives to the fullest.

LAY SUMMARY: If you have recurrent LBP and fear of moving your body, ask your health care professional to provide you with updated knowledge on pain and to help you regain confidence in your body so that you can live your life to the fullest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpzab275
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Behavior Rating Scale
  • Body Image/psychology
  • Exercise/psychology
  • Fear/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain/psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Phobic Disorders/etiology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Recurrence
  • Self Concept


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