Leading Clinicians

Back Pain

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Back pain is one of the most expensive, disabling and poorly managed health care disorders.

Acute back pain can be a frightening experience. However, most acute pain disorders are simple tissue strains that, if managed well, will settle quickly.

For those disorders that don't settle within expected healing time there are many factors that may contribute to the pain experience:

  • Structural injury or pathology is commonly thought to be the reason for persistent pain, however this only the case in about 10% of cases.
  • Did you know that pathology identified by a MRI is very common in pain free populations: degeneration (91%), disc bulges (56%), disc protrusion (32%), and annular tears (38%).

    This means that if you have these findings there is a high chance your back pain is not just related to these findings!

That's good news as other factors play a major role in your back pain such as:

  • A lack of movement control of your spine that results in increase strain and pain of sensitive spinal structures
  • Fear of movement or avoiding movement can actually increase disability and risk of re-injury
  • Poor strength and endurance of different muscle groups can result in abnormal patterns of movement to increase pain
  • lifestyle factors such as lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle and stress can sensitise the nervous system making pain worse.
  • psychological factors such as too much focus on pain, fear of re-injury, anxiety and low mood can amplify back pain
  • nervous system changes that result in lower pain thresholds and ongoing pain - meaning that things that shouldn't hurt do!

The combinations of these factors are different for everyone and many of them are modifiable.

At Bodylogic we are skilled to unravel this puzzle of back pain.

Rather than just treat your symptoms we work to understand the factors that underlie your pain disorder and develop treatment and management approaches for management. We work closely with our rehabilitation and medical staff to both manage the pain as well as teach you to self management of your disorder whether acute or long lasting.

Professor Peter O'Sullivan leads the Bodylogic team in this area based on his research in this area.

Patient Stories

Research References


McCullough, B. J., Johnson, J. R., Martin, B.I., & Jarvik, J.G. (2012). Lumbar MR imaging and reporting epidemiology: do epidemiologic data in reports affect clinical management? Radiology 262(3). pp. 941-946.

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