Tomorrow I see my physical therapist for the third time this week. My problem is a very painful low back. She wants me to take a fear beliefs survey. I guess I must be fearful because I'm afraid to take the test. What can you tell me about the test?

You may be talking about the Fear Avoidance Belief Questionnaire or FABQ. It's a group of questions that helps the therapist see if you are avoiding activities and movement out of fear of increased pain.

There is a natural tendency to stay away from work and physical activities if you think they will increase your pain. This is called fear avoidance behavior. Fear of reinjury is another reason for FAB.

Having this information can help the therapist design the best program for you. Fear avoidance behaviors can be dealt with and eliminated without harm to the patient. Be honest when answering all the questions. It's not a test of your personal faults or psychologic problems.