This study involved Aboriginal people in Australia with chronic low-back pain (CLBP) and disability.
They showed that most attributed their back pain to a structural problem or an anatomical injury in their spine. In other words, they held biomedical beliefs about the cause of their LBP.
With further investigation, they uncovered that their belief originated from the advice of various healthcare providers and from radiological imaging results. Biomedical beliefs and pessimistic outlook were more common among those with greater disability.
The most fascinating aspect of this study was that those individuals who had the lowest disability related to their CLBP had the least amount of biomedical beliefs from their limited interactions with healthcare practitioners.
Could disabling CLBP among the Aboriginal population be at least partly iatrogenic?
Could exposure to Western biomedical approaches to explaining LBP be actually increasing disability among the Aboriginal population?
This is not just about Aboriginals in Australia, it concerns all of us!
Reference: Lin IB et al Disabling chronic low back pain as an iatrogenic disorder: a qualitative study in Aboriginal Australians. BMJ Open. 2013 Apr 9;3(4). pii: e002654.