Article Last Updated: Jul 9, 2007
Contents: Introduction Pathophysiology Types of Pain Evolutionary Mechanisms in Chronic LBP History, Physical Examination, and Causes Diagnostic Strategies Medical Care Therapeutic Spinal Interventional Techniques Physical Therapy, Surgery, and Other Care Multimedia References
Author: Anthony H Wheeler, MD, Pain and Orthopedic Neurology, Charlotte, North Carolina
Synonyms and related keywords: back pain, chronic back pain, lower back pain, LBP, chronic low back pain, cLBP, chronic lumbar pain, lumbar pain, lumbar spine pain, degeneration of the spine, spinal degeneration, back trauma, spine trauma, trauma of the spine, spinal trauma, chronic lumbago, chronic lumbar muscle spasm, lumbar disc degeneration and spondylosis, lumbar segmental degeneration and instability with concomitant soft tissue dysfunction, myofascial pain syndrome, fibrositis, inflammatory spondyloarthropathy, metabolic bone disease
Chronic low back pain (LBP) is the most expensive benign condition in industrialized countries and the most common cause of activity limitation in persons younger than 45 years. It is defined as pain that persists longer than 12 weeks and is often attributed to degenerative or traumatic conditions of the spine. Fibrositis, inflammatory spondyloarthropathy, and metabolic bone conditions are also cited as causes. Although acute LBP has a favorable prognosis, the effect of chronic LBP and its related disability on society is tremendous. Unlike acute LBP, chronic LBP serves no biologic purpose. However, it is a disorder that evolves in a complex milieu influenced by endogenous and exogenous factors, and it alters the individual's productivity to an extent beyond what the initiating pathologic dysfunction would have.