Chronic low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide¹. The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is drawing attention to the condition and providing guidance on how physiotherapy can help.
‘Get the Right Relief’ is the APA’s latest campaign, highlighting the impact of chronic pain conditions on those living in Australia and the assistance physiotherapists can provide in managing these conditions. When pain persists for longer than three months, it is called chronic. Chronic pain can also be thought of as lasting beyond the usual healing time following injury or illness².
Jon Ford, an APA Musculoskeletal and Specialist Pain Physiotherapist*, says that in many instances of chronic low back pain there is not an identifiable structural cause, and therefore no ‘easy fix’ or cure.
“We have come to understand over the years that low back pain can have many possible contributing factors, ranging from a deconditioned muscular system, lack of movement or even our mood and general health,” Jon said.
Low back pain is a condition that has no ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment. Physiotherapists can assess and identify the factors contributing to your pain, and then develop an individualised treatment plan.
“This may include hands-on treatments but almost always is a personalised exercise and daily activity program to reduce pain, improve movement and strength, regain the confidence to move and improve your quality of life,” he said.
“The research tells us that chronic low back pain leads to significantly higher rates of depression and anxiety, and is associated with significant challenges with the use of opioid medications³. It reminds us that we need to look further than what ‘damage’ might exist physically to determine the factors to the person’s pain experience.
“Every pain experience is real! But in many instances, people stop moving because of their chronic low back pain. Physiotherapists can help you get back to doing what you love and empower you to be the driver of your own progress which is one of the most effective parts of chronic pain management⁴,” Jon said.
The APA’s campaign assets can be found here, including information on osteoarthritis and chronic pain.
*Jon Ford is a Specialist Pain Physiotherapist as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists 2021.
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