Aims: This article looks at the effect that fear of movement can have on the lives of people with chronic low back pain. It describes the experiences of people who were attending a six week work hardening programme as part of their vocational rehabilitation in Sydney, Australia. Method: A thematic content analysis of data collected during an ethnographic study of eleven unemployed participants with chronic low back pain who attended the work hardening programme took place. The analysis focused on the effects of fear of movement on the participants' lives. Findings: The fear of movement impacted on all aspects of the participants' daily occupations and restricted their occupational roles. These changes involved loss of occupational roles, relationship changes, loss of participation in leisure and encountering barriers to returning to paid employment. Conclusions: The findings suggest that fear of movement has a significant effect on all areas of the lives of people with chronic low back pain. Recognizing fear of movement as a barrier will enable health professionals involved in vocational rehabilitation to develop a greater understanding of the context in which people with chronic low back pain live.
International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation Vol. 17, Issue 5, p. 232-243