Updated: Mar 30
Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of disability. It occurs in similar proportions in all cultures, interferes with quality of life and work performance, and is the most common reason for medical consultations.
Few cases of back pain are due to specific causes such as from a motor vehicle crash or a fall. In the majority (85–90%) of people with LBP, the pain is classified as non-specific low back pain (NSLBP). Acute back pain is the most common presentation and is usually self-limiting, lasting less than three months regardless of treatment. However, LBP becomes chronic in 10% of people with acute to sub-acute onset of LBP .
Chronic back pain is a more difficult problem, which often has strong psychological overlay: work dissatisfaction, boredom, and a generous compensation system contribute to it. Although disc protrusions detected on X-ray are often blamed, they rarely are responsible for the pain, and surgery is seldom successful at alleviating it.
Currently the evidence is moving towards the biopsychosocial approach for treatment of LBP. It looks at the condition from a broader perspective, integrating biological factors (e.g. joints, muscles and tissues), with psychological (e.g. stress and anxiety) and social (e.g. family supports) factors to understand and treat LBP from a more holistic view.
Here is the 2 best treatment strategies strongly supported by current evidence for LBP:
1. Keep moving at a comfortable pace.
If you prefer walking over swimming, then start your walk around the neighbourhood for 5 to 10 minutes then gradually build up. If you like swimming, start with just some light walking front and back, side to side in the water. Avoid complete bed rest and do not be afraid to move.
2. Understanding about your LBP.
Understanding from a biopsychosocial perspective will help you de-threaten your experience of pain. It will encourage you to take an active approach to rehabilitation and get back to being your physical best.
Please contact us if you would like to know more and have a chat to us about your condition. We'd be honoured to help you to get back doing what you love.
1. G. Lorimer Moseley & David S. Butler "Explain Pain Supercharged". ISBN: 978-0-6480227-0-1
2. Aulaniemi, A., Kankaanpää, M., Tokola, K. et al. Neuromuscular exercise reduces low back pain intensity and improves physical functioning in nursing duties among female healthcare workers; secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 328 (2019).
3. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003, 81 (9)
4. Koes, B. W., van Tulder, M. W., & Thomas, S. (2006). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 332(7555), 1430–1434.
5. Paolucci, Teresa et al. “Chronic low back pain and postural rehabilitation exercise: a literature review.” Journal of pain research vol. 12 95-107. 20 Dec. 2018, doi:10.2147/JPR.S171729
6. Allegri, Massimo et al. “Mechanisms of low back pain: a guide for diagnosis and therapy.” F1000Research vol. 5 F1000 Faculty Rev-1530. 28 Jun. 2016, doi:10.12688/f1000research.8105.2