Chronic Low Back Pain

  • Stephen May


Chronic low back pain (CLBP), which generally refers to pain that has persisted for 3 months or more, is a common problem in the general population and in those seeking healthcare. The proportion with chronic or persistent symptoms is much larger than has been thought in the past. Many who do recover from an acute episode of back pain will have a recurrence in the following year. Many individuals with back pain do not seek healthcare, but because the problem is so prevalent in the general population the numbers who do seek care are enormous. Again because the numbers are so large this makes back pain one of the costliest health problems for direct and indirect costs. Neurophysiological and psychosocial issues have been highlighted as being associated with chronic pain, but these appear not to be relevant to the majority of those with CLBP. But from the epidemiological evidence and the evidence relating to barriers for recovery for this group it is clear that those with CLBP are a difficult group for whom to seek effective management. There are numerous potential treatments for those who do seek care. Some guidelines exist for this group, and there are also numerous systematic reviews that have been published evaluating the efficacy treatments that might be used. Exercises and talking therapies are the most commonly recommended interventions by guidelines and are supported by most systematic reviews. However self-management commonly occurs in this group. This chapter will explore these issues in more detail that are relevant to an understanding of CLBP; and in particular explore the impact, characteristics and management options for those with CLBP.


Back Pain Exercise Programme Chronic Back Pain Cauda Equina Syndrome Chronic Disability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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