Chronic Back Pain

ExitCare Image When back pain lasts longer than 3 months, it is called chronic back pain. People with chronic back pain often go through certain periods that are more intense (flare-ups).


Chronic back pain can be caused by wear and tear (degeneration) on different structures in your back. These structures include:

  • The bones of your spine (vertebrae) and the joints surrounding your spinal cord and nerve roots (facets).

  • The strong, fibrous tissues that connect your vertebrae (ligaments).

Degeneration of these structures may result in pressure on your nerves. This can lead to constant pain.


  • Avoid bending, heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, and activities which make the problem worse.

  • Take brief periods of rest throughout the day to reduce your pain. Lying down or standing usually is better than sitting while you are resting.

  • Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines only as directed by your caregiver.


  • You have weakness or numbness in one of your legs or feet.

  • You have trouble controlling your bladder or bowels.

  • You have nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, or fainting.