TV commercials can literally be a pain, German experts say

Hamburg, Germany - Back PainIf you have mysterious back pains which your doctor cannot explain, the cause may be partly due to watching TV commercials about pain-relief medication, according to findings of a revolutionary new study in Germany.

The German researchers said incidence of back pain among people living behind the Berlin Wall increased dramatically after German unification as East Germans became inundated by West German commercial television networks.

In particular, East Germans were unaccustomed to being bombarded with TV commercials for over-the-counter pain relievers.

The findings imply that, in a significant number of cases, people develop pain from reading about the problem or hearing family, friends and work colleagues moan about their own aches or watching TV commercials about nagging back aches.

Before the Berlin Wall came down, less than 70 per cent of East Germans reported having chronic back pain, while 84 per cent of West Germans had it.

By 2003, however, the number of people in former East Germany complaining of back pain had risen to almost the same as in West Germany.

German scientists at the University of Luebeck suggested that psychological disorders are the principle cause of low back pain in the majority of sufferers.

The Luebeck scientists believe that, in the absence of injury or trigger, the mind is tricked into thinking the body is in pain when reading about the problem or hearing others complain about their pain.

According to the study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, only 15 per cent of all backaches are caused by an underlying physical problem such as a trapped nerve or herniated disc.

The implication from their findings, they said, is to remain active and not worry about all those reports you see on TV and read in the news media about chronic back pain. (dpa)