08 Feb Why Back Pain Is So Common – It’s All In The Physics
It has been estimated that some 80% of the U.S. population will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. Furthermore, 25% of the people you know have likely reported back pain to their doctors in the last three months. Lower back pain costs the U.S. economy between $100 and $200 billion annually in lost wages and productivity. To say that back pain is common is to state the obvious.
The question is, why? Is there something unique about the back that makes it prone to pain and injury? And if not, is there something about the modern lifestyle that lends itself to causing back pain? We actually know a lot more about back pain than we used to. As a result, we can answer almost all the questions that come our way.
The Physics of Back Pain
From a medical standpoint, back pain is all in the physics. In other words, the structure of the back itself makes it more prone to pain compared to many other areas of the body. Let us begin with an explanation of the architecture, if you will.
The part of the back that causes most pain is the spine. The spine consists of a number of bones stacked one on top of another, with spongy discs in between. Running through a cavity in each of the bones is the spinal cord. This is essentially command central for the nervous system.
The lower portion of the back is known as the lumbar spine. It is curved by design so that it carries the weight of the upper body and transfers the associated energy load down into the hips and legs. But because of this design, the lower back undergoes a tremendous amount of daily stress just by carrying the upper body’s entire weight.
Physics dictates that the lower you go on the spine, the more wear and tear there is. This is because the lowest bones in the lumbar spine are carrying the load from all the bones above it. They are also carrying all of that energy as it transitions from the top of the spine to the bottom.
Common Causes of Back Pain
With physics working against us, the best way to avoid back pain is to take good care of ourselves. But even people in tip-top shape can suffer lower back pain from time to time. At our Texas pain management clinic, we see patients suffering all sorts of lower back pain despite being otherwise healthy.
Here are some of the most common causes:
- Slipped Disc – Known more formally as a herniated disc, a slipped disc is one in which a portion of the disc has bulged out from between the two bones it cushions. It can cause both back pain and pain that radiates down the leg.
- Disc Disease – Degenerative disc disease is a result of natural wear and tear. It can cause pain by breaking down the discs until they no longer provide adequate cushioning.
- Spinal Arthritis – Just as osteoarthritis can affect the hips, knees, and other joints, it can also affect the spine. Spinal arthritis is typified by stiff, achy joints caused by bones rubbing against one another.
There are many other known causes of lower back pain. At any rate, the lower back is more prone to pain due to its design and structure. If you are suffering from chronic back pain, a visit with Lone Star Pain Management may be in order. Contact our office and set up an appointment to see one of our pain specialists.