By CSSM Osteopath Jaimi Schroen.

Back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, with experts estimating up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their life.

Persistent or chronic back pain is pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after the tissues have healed after the initial injury.

Generally, when someone is suffering from back pain we can look at multiple things to try to improve the person’s pain such as strengthening muscles around the area, being more active, addressing workplace or study ergonomics and hands-on treatment. However, with chronic pain the treatment and management can be a little bit more complex. (1)

Think of chronic pain like you’re making toast and you accidentally burn it. This results in smoke and causes the smoke alarm to go off to warn you of the danger. Think of the toast as stimulus and the smoke alarm as your nervous system. The burnt toast is no danger to you nor is something so small going to cause you pain but your nervous system sends you a warning to let you know what is happening. Now that the toast is already burnt, if we go to put it in the toaster again, it takes less time for smoke to develop and for the smoke alarm to go off again.
This is the same with chronic pain. If you are continuously experiencing regular flare ups of pain, it can result in the nervous system becoming sensitive to pain signals causing pain to kick in more promptly and more severelyChronic pain can become a vicious cycle. (1)

Some issues that can contribute to chronic pain are: 
Poor posture
Sitting for too long
Repetitive bending and lifting
Lack of exercise
Being overweight
Past falls and injuries
Family history 

An approach that focuses not just on your physical health but also your social and psychological health to help overcome it is important.

We look at:
-Breathing techniques
-Sleep management
-Pleasant/meaningful activities
-Flare up strategies  

Osteopaths are trained to explore and understand the root cause of chronic pain. Where appropriate, they will use manual techniques like massage, stretching and manipulation to try to reduce your pain. Your osteopath will also work with you to help identify factors that are contributing to your chronic pain and work together to try and overcome them.

It’s estimated that low back pain is so prevalent in our society around 20% of people can go on and develop chronic pain. In instances where back pain does become persistent there are lots of methods that can be used to help overcome it. (1)

If you have persistent back pain, contact one of our CSSM osteopath’s today to get you on the road to recovery. 

About the author

Osteopath Jaimi Schroen enjoys seeing the positive effects she can have on a patient when treating them as a whole rather than just focusing on their symptoms. Previously, Jaimi has worked as a sports trainer at a football club as well as in a podiatry specialty shoe store where she was regularly involved in lower limb gait analysis.

Low Back Pain Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [Internet]. 2020 [cited 17 October 2020]. Available from: