Managing Chronic Low Back Pain
Why So Common?
- Having a work-related injury, particularly if the work environment requires or allows use of improper body mechanics (eg, bending or twisting when lifting)
- Having poor ergonomics for sedentary workers
- Having a degenerative disease (eg, arthritis) of the spine
- Being overweight or obese
No Obvious Cause
More Is Better
Complex Solutions for Complex Problems
Where Do We Go From Here?
- Recognize that your condition is a complicated problem that cannot be treated in isolation. This is the first step to gaining control over your pain and your life.
- Determine which facets of your pain have not been adequately addressed—psychological, social, occupational, and/or physical. Tackling this problem from only one perspective is unlikely to work.
- Continue working with your doctor, and consider getting a referral to a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. These doctors may be in the best position to coordinate a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary treatment plan, whether or not it includes alternative therapies.
- Strive to restore your ability to function. Your goal should be to resume your normal activities, not only to reduce your pain. Although the two are closely linked, the evidence suggests that focusing on function is the key to recovery.
- Look both ways. Look ahead to visualize what it will be like to have no pain or disability. But also look back to measure your progress. It is easier to succeed when you see how far you have come.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation http://www.aapmr.org/
American Society of Exercise Physiologists http://www.asep.org/
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php/
Back pain. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated October 31, 2011. Accessed December 5, 2011.
Slipman CW, Derby R, Simeone FA, Mayer TG. Interventional Spine: An Algorithmic Approach. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2008.
1/15/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E. The association between obesity and low back pain: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171(2):135-54.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 12/2011 -
- Update Date: 12/28/2011 -