Rheumatology

Low-back pain

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability. It occurs in similar proportions in all cultures, interferes with quality of life and work performance, and is the most common reason for medical consultations. Few cases of back pain are due to specific causes; most cases are non-specific. Acute back pain is the most common presentation and is usually self-limiting, lasting less than three months regardless of treatment. Chronic back pain is a more difficult problem, which often has strong psychological overlay: work dissatisfaction, boredom, and a generous compensation system contribute to it. Among the diagnoses offered for chronic pain is fibromyalgia, an urban condition (the diagnosis is not made in rural settings) that does not differ materially from other instances of widespread chronic pain. Although disc protrusions detected on X-ray are often blamed, they rarely are responsible for the pain, and surgery is seldom successful at alleviating it.

The lifetime prevalence of low back pain is up to 84%. To prevent low back pain, evidence suggests that a regular physical activity is effective. Walking, cycling and swimming are some light exercises that can help prevent low back pain.

References: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/81/9/Ehrlich.pdf
Steffens et al. – Prevention of Low Back Pain - JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):199-208. Prendre soin de son dos – Institut national de prévention et d’éducation pour la santé.
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