Back pain

What is back pain?

Back pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pain is short in duration (less than three months). If your pain persists over three months it may be categorised as chronic. 

Back pain is discomfort felt anywhere along the spine or spine region. Your spine is classified into 5 parts – Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Sacral and Coccygeal segments. The most common type of back pain is low back pain (Lumbar to Sacral). 

It is estimated that 85% of people will experience back pain in their lifetime. Back pain can often accompany other disabilities and remains a leading cause of disease burden in Australia.

Signs and symptoms of back pain

 The signs and symptoms of back pain are wide and varying

  • It can often be associated with nerve pain
  • Any pain or discomfort at rest or during activity
  • It can be neural in nature
  • Symptoms can also radiate to other parts of the body (e.g. neck, shoulders, glutes, and down towards the feet).

Managing symptoms of back pain

  • Exercise remains one of the leading management and treatment strategies for back pain. Speak to your GP or a health professional to find out ways to manage your back pain
  • As back pain becomes chronic, consider accessing psychological support to assist with quality of life and wellbeing
  • Education workshops, seminars and courses have also been shown to reduce symptoms and improve management strategies associated with back pain
  • Many sufferers get relief from hot or cold packs
  • Laying in a comfortable position and conducting gentle breathing exercises can also reduce your symptoms
  • There are many pharmaceutical and surgical options as well with varying degrees of success. 

Where to get help

If you’re a current or ex-serving Defence Force member and are experiencing ongoing back pain, reach out to Mates4Mates on 1300 4 MATES (62 837) for a confidential chat about our service options.

Alternatively, talk to a trusted General Practitioner or Exercise Physiologist about your health concerns.

Other helpful resources