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Dr Jeremy Steinberg - Musculoskeletal Specialist Service

Private Service, Musculoskeletal

Chronic Spinal Pain

Back disorders (e.g. chronic neck pain, chronic low back pain, sciatica, etc) are the leading cause of a reduced quality of life in New Zealand. It is estimated that about 10% of New Zealanders have chronic back pain. Fortunately chronic back pain is rarely sinister in nature and there is no association between the severity of the pain and "damage" to the spine.

Most people living with back conditions don't seek medical input. However some may see their GP or allied health providers. A minority may be referred to various specialties including Musculoskeletal Medicine, Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, Occupational Medicine, and Pain Medicine.

Research on diagnostic techniques over the past 20-30 years has meant that the source of the pain can often be diagnosed (or at least a probability for a pain source can be given) but unfortunately for most people there is no proven medical "cure" that the diagnosis leads to. However often there are things that can make life more manageable. It is usually something that is "managed" like diabetes, rather than something that is "cured" like a skin infection.

In some rarer cases the problem isn't the back itself but rather a problem with the way that the nervous and immune systems function.

This page was last updated at 12:54PM on June 13, 2022.