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Does going to an amusement park alleviate low back pain? A preliminary study

Authors Sakakibara T, Wang Z, Kasai Y

Published Date October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 409—413

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S36960

Received 12 August 2012, Accepted 21 September 2012, Published 19 October 2012

Toshihiko Sakakibara, Zhuo Wang, Yuichi Kasai

Department of Spinal Surgery and Medical Engineering, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Background: Low back pain is often called nonspecific pain. In this type of low back pain, various emotions and stress are known to strongly affect pain perception. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the degree of low back pain changes in people with chronic mild low back pain when they are inside and outside of an amusement park where people are supposed to have physical and psychological enjoyment.
Methods: The subjects were 23 volunteers (13 males and 10 females) aged 18 to 46 years old with a mean age of 24.0 years who had chronic low back pain. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores of low back pain and salivary amylase levels (kIU/L) of all subjects were measured at five time points: immediately after getting on the bus heading for the amusement park; 10 minutes, 1 hour (immediately after boarding the roller coaster), and 3 hours (immediately after exiting the haunted house) after arriving at the amusement park; and immediately before getting off the bus returning from the park.
Results: The three VAS values in the amusement park (10 minutes, 1 hour, and 3 hours after arriving at the amusement park) measured were significantly lower (P < 0.05) when compared with the other two values measured immediately after getting on the bus heading for the amusement park and immediately before getting off the return bus. In salivary amylase levels, there were no statistically significant differences among the values measured at the five time points.
Conclusion: Low back pain was significantly alleviated when the subjects were in the amusement park, which demonstrated that enjoyable activities, though temporarily, alleviated their low back pain.

Keywords: low back pain, emotion, salivary alpha-amylase activity, enjoyment activities, psychological stress

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