Unemployment, a Predictor of Chronic Back Pain…As Nigeria Society Of Physiotherapy Clocks 60 In Ebonyi State

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By Madonna Nwani

Catastrophe and unemployment have been identified to be among the predictors of disability in patients with either acute or chronic low back pain.

This was the view of Dr. Mrs. Nnenna Nina Chigbo, a guest speaker at the 2019 annual public lecture, organized by the Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy, Ebonyi State Chapter, as part of their week-long activities geared towards the commemoration of the annual physiotherapy day, September 8, every year.

Dr. Chigbo listed other psychological and social factors that are important prognostic indicators of future pain to include anxiety and high levels of distress and self-rated health.

She, therefore, advocated that psychological treatment be integrated with other therapeutic components, such as physical therapy and medication management, or the effectiveness of treatment will be compromised.

The guest lecturer ascertained that “there is no physiological, imaging or laboratory test that can identify or measure pain” adding that “pain is what the patient says it is.

The clinician must accept the patients’ reports of pain”
Dr. Chigbo recommended a multi-modal therapy which involves drugs and non-drugs treatment and rational combination of drugs that work by different mechanisms as important in providing optional relief of pain and reducing the probability of persistent changes that characterize chronic pain.

In her view, non-pharmacological treatment like ‘dance therapy’ ‘music therapy’ and ‘acupuncture’ may reduce the perception of pain, assist in relaxation or improve sleep.


She summarizes that not all these approaches would work for everyone.
“Non-pharmacological treatments complement pharmacological treatment. They should not be used as substitutes and do not assume that all non-pharmacological treatment is safe… just because natural remedies such as herbs, have been around for a long time does not mean that they work or that they are harmless.” She opined.

The guest lecturer equally averred that voluntary control of pain behavior should be inculcated into chronic pain management.

“Coping or pain tolerance occurs along a spectrum, therefore no matter what you are in the coping spectrum, you can always get better at it. Reducing the emotional distress and behavioral avoidance of pain is a way to get better at coping with pain” she concluded.

The Chairman, Ebonyi State Chapter of Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy and National Financial Secretary of the union, Anekwu Emelie Moris in a welcome address, said the day was set aside by the World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WCPT) the world body that sees to the unity and promotion of physical therapy in the world to which Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy is the member.

According to him, the theme for this year’s celebration is “chronic pain” but in Ebonyi State, we chose to look at chronic pain and its burden on the aging population thus, our own theme was: ‘Chronic Pain: A Menace To The Aging Population. “I will like to mention that this year is also the 60th anniversary of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy”

The Society, therefore, uses the occasion to give back to the society by commissioning a volleyball court it built as its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Democracy Estate Primary School, Aguogboriga, Abakaliki.

It also undertook a free medical outreach where it carried out a health screening for residents of Okposi Umuoghara and free health counseling on healthy living devoid of pain as well as sporting activities among members.


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