When does back pain become chronic?

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When does back pain become chronic?

Acute and Chronic Pain

Acute episodes of back pain are quite common. There is a high natural recovery rate, with about 90% of cases resolving within six weeks. However, chronic or recurrent back problems is present in up to 39% of adults. Most back pain is caused by muscle strain, injury or spinal deformity. It can also be caused by a systemic or rheumatic illness. The exact cause of pain may be difficult to identify because it can originate in soft tissue, bone, discs or nerves. With chronic pain cases, pain itself may become the disease.  Three or more months of pain will classify the pain as chronic.


Injuries or conditions such as arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis can contribute to chronic back pain. Muscle atrophy, poor posture, body mechanics, genetics & ageing also affect the anatomical structures of the back. Poor posture is increasing as a direct result of desk jobs and sedentary lifestyles.

Driving or sitting for long periods of time, repetitive motions, lifting both light and heavy objects & sleeping in an odd position can exacerbate painful symptoms.


Topical pain relief such as creams, muscle relaxants, NSAIDs, and heat or ice are often the first line of treatment to reduce symptoms. Stretching, range of motion movements and targeted spine strengthening and conditioning exercises are the best way to treat chronic back pain. The movements and exercises are designed to address those underlying causes of long-term back pain so you can strengthen your back, condition your muscles and improve your mobility


If you are experiencing back pain or are concerned that it may become chronic, please reach out to us. One of our experienced physiotherapists or exercise physiologist will be able to assist getting you back to your best.

Please call us on 3352 5116 if you have any questions or book online today.

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