Understanding low back pain

by Dr. Peter Moore GP / Family Physician


Low back pain is not a specific disease. It is a complaint that may be caused by a large number of underlying problems of varying levels of seriousness. It is  associated with injury to the musculoskeletal system.

Most acute low back pain will subside within days or weeks. However the chance of recurrence is high (about fifty percent). For approximately five to ten percent of people their low back pain will become lifelong.


Low-back pain is one of the most common and costly musculoskeletal problems in modern society. It is suggested that low back pain may effect eight out of ten people (80%) in their lifetime. It is the single largest cause of disability worldwide. Almost four out of every ten people (37%) attribute their back pain to workplace risk factors.

Risk factors 

So what is likely to contribute to an individual developing low back pain?

  • Being inactive or in poor physical condition
  • Physical trauma to the back
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Poor posture (slouching or slumping, especially when combined with muscle tension)
  • Poor sleeping position
  • Smoking


Much research has investigated the cause and effect of low back pain and examined whether preventative strategies may be effective. Other research has tried to determine what interventions may be effective to treat low back pain, whether acute or chronic in nature. Patient (client) education, medication, physical, chiropractic and osteopathic therapies, guided exercises, mechanical devices, dietary and lifestyle advice, acupuncture and psychological interventions are commonly used to provide pain relief for low back pain sufferers.

Researchers have also looked at what might work to prevent recurrences of low back pain.

In future articles, we will explain what the evidence relating to low back pain treatments means for sufferers, provide some ideas for maintaining a healthy back and prevention of relapses of back pain.

Minimising prolonged sitting is one of the best ways to deal with low back pain. If you work at a desk, the best way to do sit less is to stand and work. To find out more about affordable standing solutions click: ZestDesk.com

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