As one of the most commonly recorded symptoms in the U.K chronic back pain is responsible for a large percentage of work related sickness. As well as being debilitating it can also cause the sufferer a lot of pain and discomfort. The London Back & Neck Pain Clinic are here to help.

back pain

What is Chronic Back Pain?

Chronic back pain is common and the largest single cause of sickness absence in the UK. Although it can be very painful, it is normally not serious. Chronic back pain is not actually based on the amount of pain but in fact the length of time in which you have been suffering from it. If your back pain lasts for more than 3 months then it may be descibed as "chronic back pain". Less than 3 months and it would more than likely be diagnosed as "acute back pain".

Types of Back Pain

There are two categories of back pain;

  1. ACUTE - this is where your back pain lasts for less than 3 months, and

  2. CHRONIC - this is where your back pain develops gradually over time, lasts more than 3 months, and causes long-term problems.

Who can suffer from Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain can affect anyone, of any age, but it is more common in people between the ages of 35-55 years.
In the majority of cases, the cause of pain can be linked to the way the bones, muscles and ligaments in the back, work together.

The structure of the back

The back is a complex structure consisting of:

  • 24 small bones (vertebrae)

  • shock absorbing discs (intervertebral discs) that cushion the bones and allow the spine to bend,

  • ligaments to hold vertebrae and discs together,

  • tendons to connect muscles to vertebrae,

  • spinal cord (carries nerves from the brain to the rest of the body),

  • nerves, and

  • muscles.

  • The structure of the lower back - the lumbar region

  • The lower part of your back is called the lumbar region,

  • the lumbar region is made up of 5 vertebrae, known as L1 to L5,

  • this region bares the entire weight of your upper body (plus any extra weight you are carrying), and

  • the region is under continue pressure, especially when your are bending, twisting and lifting.

More about Chronic Back Pain

The complex structure of your lower back means that quite small amounts of damage to any of the structures of the back can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Pain in the lower back is a symptom of stress or damage to your ligaments, muscles, tendons or discs. In some cases the back pain can spread to the buttocks and thighs.
In most cases the back will heal itself and staying active and continuing with your usual activities will normally promote healing.
In severe and persistent cases it is important to seek medical advice so that a correct diagnosis can be reached and appropriate treatment given, as treatment may depend on the underlying cause in some cases. For example, pain caused by some types of arthritis may be treated by specific medicines.


For more advice about back pain speak to one of our expert advisers at The Back & Neck Pain Clinic;

CALL 020 8704 5998


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