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Active Voice: Overcoming Fear of Movement due to Back Pain in the Obese Older Adult

from By Heather K. Vincent, Ph.D., FACSM

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Dr. Heather Vincent is a research faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine in Gainesville, Fla. She is the director of the Human Dynamics Research Laboratories and UF Sports Performance Center. Her research is focused on developing appropriate exercise-based interventions for obesity to improve the physiological, mechanical and psychological disease risk factors and attenuate musculoskeletal disease progression. She is currently serving on the ACSM Consumer Information Committee.

This commentary presents Dr. Vincent’s views related to a research article she and her colleagues had published in the September 2014 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).

Physical activity is recommended to obese individuals by their doctors for weight loss and overall joint heath. Activities that increase caloric expenditure are helpful for reducing weight and offloading the joints of the body. However, obese individuals commonly experience low back or knee pain during exercise, leading them to avoid exercise. Avoidance behavior initiates a cycle of continued weight gain, worsened joint pain, pain catastrophizing, fear of movement (termed kinesiophobia) and disability.

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