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Why Does Low Back Pain Affect So Many People Worldwide?

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide, with more than 570 million people suffering from it.

A recent study found that the chance of recovery from lower back pain decreases over time. In most cases, the pain disappears within about six weeks. But when it doesn't, lower back pain is likely to bother you in the long run.

Professor Lorimer Moseley, from the University of South Australia, says: “The good news is that most episodes of back pain go away, even if you have already had back pain for more than a month. The bad news is that once you have had back pain for more than a few months, the chance of recovery be much less.

A systematic review and meta-analysis (statistical analysis), conducted by an international team of researchers, included 95 studies with the aim of understanding the clinical course of cases of acute back pain (less than 6 weeks), subacute/subacute back pain (6-12 weeks), and lower back pain. Persistent back pain (from 12 weeks to less than 52 weeks).

The results found that participants with acute and subacute low back pain had significant improvements in levels of pain and disability during the first six weeks, but then recovery slowed.

While participants with persistent low back pain had high levels of pain and disability with only minor improvements over time.

Professor Mosley says: “These findings show that back pain can persist even after the initial injury has healed. In these cases, back pain is related to hypersensitivity of the pain system, not to ongoing back injury. This means that if you suffer from chronic back pain - back pain "Most days for more than a few months - it's time to take a new approach to improving treatment."

He points out that there are new treatments that rely on training both the brain and the body, "focusing first on understanding that chronic back pain is not a simple problem, and for this reason it has no simple solution, and then on slowly reducing the sensitivity of the pain system, while increasing your function and participation in purposeful activities."

The authors state that identifying slow recovery in those with subacute low back pain is important so that care can be enhanced and the likelihood of persistent pain reduced.

More research is needed into treatments to help treat this common condition, and better understand it in people under 18 and over 60.

Source: Medical Express

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