An estimated 3.7 million Australians suffer from chronic back problems and associated psychological distress. Here are three things you can do to improve spine function and general well-being, and help manage chronic back pain.

1.       Keep Active

Your spine is designed to move. When you stay active, not only do you improve general health and well-being, you also help keep the spine healthy. An inactive or sedentary lifestyle can contribute to poor spinal health which can aggravate chronic back pain symptoms.

People who exercise to treat chronic back pain find that it reduces back pain intensity. In a study with 258 patients with chronic low back pain, a 6-week program of aerobic and flexibility exercises saw a 31% decrease in back pain. Furthermore, it found no evidence to suggest that regular exercise increases the risk of future back pain or degeneration. [1]

2.       Stretch

Incorporating stretching into your daily routine can help keep the spine flexible and mobile. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing in the same position can cause stress on the spine. Stretching may help to alleviate this.

Multiple studies have documented the efficacy of stretching for improving trunk flexibility deficits in patients with chronic back pain, with an average improvement of about 20%. [2] People with chronic back pain may have limited range of movement and therefore stretches must be performed within this range, as to not induce discomfort. Speak with a local chiropractor or another health professional to determine which exercises/stretches are best for you.

3.       Improve your Posture

Slouching or hunching distorts the natural shape of the spine. Poor posture can put a great deal of stress on the neck and spine which may lead to poor spinal health over time. Being conscious of your posture and correcting it while sitting, standing or sleeping, can help improve spinal health. A strong spine is better equipped to handle strain so take steps to better health today.

Download the Straighten Up (Australia) app to receive posture reminders throughout the day and follow the Straighten Up exercise program to improve your spinal health and strengthen core muscles.

Help is at Hand

Chiropractors are qualified to address musculoskeletal disorders and can help relieve the symptoms of chronic back pain. Even at early stages of acute back pain, chiropractors can advise on appropriate measures.

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques such as spinal manipulation and manual therapy to address chronic back pain symptoms. They also advise on appropriate lifestyle and dietary modifications to help patients lead healthier lives. See your local CAA chiropractor for more information.

For more information on maintaining a healthy spine, please visit the website of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia at

[1] Rainville, James et al. Exercise as a Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain. The Spine Journal 4 (2004). Online.

[2] Rainville, James et al. Exercise as a Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain. The Spine Journal 4 (2004). Online.