Back pain is the most common complaint treated by doctors. It is the leading cause of activity limitations and work absence, imposing a high economic burden on society. Nonspecific back pain afflicts more than 95 percent of all back pain sufferers, in such cases there is no disease process or structural derangement that could justify the pain. The cause of back pain has eluded researchers for centuries. Fortunately, recently recorded scientific efforts and the sunset of modern technology have finally enabled scientists to elucidate this mystery. We finally now know without a doubt what causes our backs to chronically hurt.

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF CHRONIC BACK PAIN:

Because of the way our bodies are built, we have no choice but to lean our trunks forward in order to perform our daily tasks. The vicious cycle begins with the performance of our daily tasks with poor posture and improper body mechanics. This inevitably leads to overuse and fatigue of our core muscles. As inflammation and pain ensue, the brain inhibits the core muscles from properly functioning. This is done in order to prevent core muscles from damage. The end result is a dysfunctional motor planning of the core muscles, in other words the brain loses the ability to properly control the core muscles.

The core muscles tend to fire at the wrong time. They generate less force than usual and also reach their peak earlier than they would if the person was pain-free. When a chronic pain sufferer is pain free, the mere thought of anticipating lumbago will cause the core muscles to misfire. When an individual bends his trunk forward to its limit, the back muscles relax absolutely, however, in a person suffering from back pain the muscles continue firing.

The ability to sense position of the spinal (propioception) is affected in back patients. It can be off by as much as six degrees, when trying to reposition oneself from a slouched position. This is a significant amount of error for the spine.

Patients with chronic backache show significant brain changes when compared to control groups, displaying atrophy of cortical gray matter of 5 to 11 percent, the equivalent of 10 to 20 years of brain aging in a normal person.

Shrinkage of these brain regions explains the psychological, cognitive and sensory abnormalities that occur with a chronic sore back. This is how this vicious cycle is perpetuated.

The medical establishment has made available to back patients a rather impressive array of physical and chemical modalities, to no avail. This vicious cycle can only be broken by fixing the dysfunctional motor planning of the body's core muscles.