This coming couple of weeks has a number of awareness events relevant to us, so I’ll be posting more than usual. This coming week is Back Care Awareness Week. Next week includes whilst World Arthritis Day (12th) and World Spine Day (16th) whilst World Osteoporosis Day is on the 20th.
So for today, as back care awareness week starting on Monday, let’s take a look at chronic low back pain (Acute LBP). Back care awareness week is organised by @BackCareCharity, and supported by the @BritChiro amongst others.
Low back pain that has been present for longer than three months is considered chronic. More than 80% of all health care costs can be attributed to chronic LBP. Nearly a third of people seeking treatment for low back pain will have persistent moderate pain for one year after an acute episode. Almost by definition, anyone suffering with chronic pain will also suffer an altered perception of pain, where the brain retrains itself, becoming very good at feeling pain – whether it needs to or not.
Chronic pain is always a complex condition, involving tissue damage, adaptation strategies, altered pain perception, altered psychology (depression, sleep disturbance etc) and usually secondary complaints brought about by the adaptations – in fact, the original condition can often have already resolved at presentation, but the cascade of reactions is still continuing to cause problems. This makes chronic pain very complex to treat, and means that we need to use manual therapy, home advice, exercise plans and psychological support all at the same time, to get the best results. There are no short cuts when it comes to dealing with chronic pain; and it can be hard work, for both the clinician and the patient.