Lower back pain is a bigger problem in Maine and elsewhere in the United States than you might think. It can be gradual and chronic. Or it can happen suddenly, while you are bending over to pick something up. Why does this happen? And what is the impact on society?
The nerve supply to the spine holds some of the answers to questions regarding pain. While you can feel some pain in the spine, the threshold for feeling it is relatively high. Sometimes tension that has been building in the muscles over time without being sensed consciously causes the back to spasm. However, more often stress and inflammation builds in the joints. At some point — perhaps when you are bending over– the body, specifically the muscles, protect an inflamed or misaligned joint by not letting you bend.
Recent brain scan findings from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine even suggest that it is possible to predict with about 85% accuracy whether low back pain will persist based on whether a patient has a specific marker in the axons that allow one’s brain cells to communicate. It’s believed that treatment with medication early on can make long-term chronic pain less likely.
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