The role of social support in coping with chronic low back pain: help or hindrance?

Approximately 14 per cent of Canadians suffer from chronic low back pain, making it the second most common chronic condition in the country. Some studies suggest that having a high level of satisfaction with social support may increase well-being of people with chronic back pain. However, there is little research that has addressed the potentially harmful effects of social support. Susan Holtzman is examining how support networks help or hinder patients in coping with chronic back pain over time. She will study 200 patients and their partners, using questionnaires and daily records to track pain levels, disability, mood, types of support received, satisfaction with support, coping strategies, and health. Findings from this research may lead to more effective and individualized treatment programs.