Back pain is a public health problem worldwide and so common that approximately 4 out of 5 people present it at some point in their life. In order of frequency, Back Pain is the first chronic health problem globally, far ahead of diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, arthritis or rheumatism.
Back pain is a generally benign and self-limiting condition of complex etiopathogenesis, in which emotional and social factors play an important role.
Back pain is defined as pain in the back part of the trunk, from the occiput (at the level of the neck) to the sacrum (lower back). It also includes the painful processes located in areas whose innervation corresponds to the roots or spinal nerves (lumbociatalgia, cervicobrachialgia).Of all the back pains, the most frequent (70%) corresponds to the lumbar area.
Despite the countless time since human adopted the upright position. The back is not designed to remain upright an can still suffer by this position that is not natural.
If we add to this the movements that sometimes take place, particularly when lifting a very heavy object without taking into account the effects that this can have on the spine, there will often be pain and discomfort in the back.
In addition, although with a lower incidence, the various diseases that can occur in the bones of the back and the pains that, reflexively, cause conditions originating in other locations of the body must be taken into account.
The lower back is a very vulnerable area of the human body, subjected to constant efforts, bad postures, incorrect uses and defects in birth etc.
The main risk factors for low back pain include poor postural habits, previous episodes of back pain, low physical fitness, lack of strength and resistance of the muscles of the spine, previous trauma, heavy physical work, sitting for a long time, movements that combine trunk flexion and rotation, frequent exposure to vibrations, repetitive tasks, advanced age, overweight, scoliosis, corticosteroid treatments, osteopo-rosis, cancer, circulatory diseases and stress etc.
From an epidemiological perspective, 8 out of 10 people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives and is the main cause of sick leave in the western world.
Depending on the duration of the pain, it can be classified as:
- Acute: when it lasts less than 6 weeks.
- Subacute: if it lasts between 6 weeks and 3 months.
- Chronic: the one that lasts for more than 3 months.
- Recurrent: if successive acute episodes occur separated by periods free of symptoms of 3 months duration.
If Back Pain persists for more than three years can be considered as chronic back pain.