Are You Heading Towards Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions, with approximately 80% of Australians debilitated by it. Back pain is prevalent in the modern day world – and the most common reasons for back pain are disc injuries, sciatica, lifting heavy objects, lack of movement or some other non-specific back injury. But why for some people does it turn into chronic back pain?


The fact is – if two people have the same level of pain, their responses to that pain can be different. The differing responses are due to people’s psychological attitudes and outlooks. There are so many misconceptions about how to treat back pain and I am here to assure you that you need to move to keep your spine health optimal to avoid further pain.


The main reason for your back pain becoming chronic could be for the following reasons:


  1. Believing low back pain is harmful or disabling


Without the right guidance people believe exercise is more harmful than good. If anything, a lack of movement is disabling due to the tendency for our spinal muscles and structures to tense up and weaken, limiting our body’s full range of motion causing further problems.


  1. Fearing and avoiding activity due to back pain


The human body was designed to move – fearing and avoiding this natural human movement can be detrimental to your health. Continue with your activities of daily living but be mindful to reduce any weighted activities you may do in your day until you have strengthened your back properly and learnt the proper technique.


  1. A tendency towards low mood and isolation


In a study by Tank et al (2008)  – they found a correlation between chronic back pain patients who experimentally induced negative mood increases, self-reported pain and decreases tolerance for a pain-relevant task. It is only natural that social interactions lessen as a result of decreased mood.


  1. Having a strong expectation that passive rather than active treatment will help


Passive treatment is a great starting point to mobilise your spine and reduce acute pain in some instances, however research shows incorporating active treatment such as breathing, relaxing techniques, exercise – stretching and strengthening will improve your long term back health.


Back pain doesn’t have to govern your life and put you on the sidelines. It can be managed through movement. The RIGHT movement.




Louisa Sammartino is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist located in Melbourne, Australia.




Tank, NK., Salkovski, PM., Hodges, A., Wright, KJ., Hanna, M., Hester, J. (2008) Effects of mood on pain responses and pain tolerance: an experimental study in chronic back pain patients. Pain Journal. 2008 Aug 31;138(2):392-401.

Louisa Sammartino
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