What is Back Pain?

·         Back pain is a category for any kind of pain that affects the back.

·         Back pain is generally associated with mechanical problems related to the back. The most common problems are disk breakdown, spasms, tense muscles, and ruptured disks.

·         There are a number of medical conditions that cause back pain:

o    Fibromyalgia

o    Arthritis

o    Scoliosis

o    Spondylolisthesis

o    Spinal stenosis

o    Pregnancy

o    Kidney stones

o    Infections

o    Endometriosis


Who Suffers From Back Pain?

·         YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

·         It is estimated that 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point.

·         Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment (with headaches only being more common)

·         Americans spend more than $50 Billion per year on lower back pain.

·         Back pain is the most reason for job-related injury and missed work.

·         Back pain is HUGE national problem.


Your Back & Back Pain

The back is constantly working (even when you are asleep!) The back stretches from your neck to your tailbone. The back is a complex, integrated of nerves and muscles anchored by the spine. The spine is composed of 24 bony rings called vertebrae. The spine and the vertebrae are designed to protect the spinal column or spinal cord. The spinal cord communicates with the brain while managing the interaction of the bones, ligaments, and muscles for the entire body, arms, and legs.

Below are some good links with additional information on the anatomy of the back:

·         Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_back

·         Back.com from Medtronic http://www.back.com/anatomy.html


Causes of Back Pain:


Back pain general starts in one of three areas:

• The Vertebrae: The bones that compose the spine

• The Muscles: The muscles, tendons and ligaments that compose the back

• The Nerves: The nerves that compose the spinal column that control the majority of the movement and sensation in the body. Nerves can be pressed or pinched resulting in pain. Sometimes, the nerves can become inflamed causing pain.


How to Prevent Back Pain

Nearly all of us will be afflicted with back pain at some point in our lives. The best things that can be done to prevent back pain are:

·         Maintain a healthy diet with enough calcium and Vitamin D to keep bones strong

·         Lose weight! Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce stress on back and reduce the likelihood of future injury.

·         Exercise: Regular exercise will increase your back strength.

·         Yoga & Stretching: A regimen of stretching like light yoga can help keep your back flexible.

·         Posture & desk alignment: Maintain a proper posture by standing straight. If you work at a desk for a large portion of the day, make sure your computer, desk and chair are adjusted properly to minimize stress on your back.

·         Avoid lifting heavy objects: This may sound obvious, but avoid lifting heavy objects. If you must lift a heavy object, use a back support and left with your legs while keeping your back straight.



1.     National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, What is Back Pain?, September 2009.

2.     Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, 2011.

3.     Zacharoff et al., Your Guide to Pain Management, Inflexxion, Inc. 2009.