Study Sheds Light on Common Cause of Back Pain

Unexplained low back pain is incredibly common, affecting about 80% of adults at some point during their lifetimes. In the last three months, more than one-quarter of U.S. adults report that they’ve experienced low back pain, which is the most common cause of job-related disability, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).1
The direct and indirect costs associated with low back pain are immense, reaching $90 billion a year in the U.S. alone.2 In most cases, low back pain resolves on its own in a few days or weeks, but sometimes it persists for 12 weeks or more, at which point it’s considered chronic.
It’s estimated that about 20% of those who start out with acute low back pain end up with chronic low back pain, with symptoms persisting at one year.3
While many cases of acute low back pain are due to sprains and strains caused by lifting something heavy, overstretching or twisting in an improper way, general degeneration of the spine that occurs with age can also be a culprit. Further, researchers from Johns Hopkins noted in the journal Nature Communications that 90% of low back pain is nonspecific, meaning it has no apparent cause.4
The researchers noted that even in cases of intervertebral disc degeneration, there may be no symptoms, meaning spinal degeneration isn’t always the reason for low back pain. They suggested instead that an overgrowth of nerves into the cartilaginous endplates in the spine …
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