A Guide To Back Pain

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What is Back Pain?

Back pain comes in many varieties and is caused by a number of conditions. It can be difficult to diagnose back pain, because it may arise from issues with the ligaments, spinal vertebrae, muscles, nerves, or joints.

Research by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons indicates about 85% of Americans will suffer back pain. Of those who do have back pain symptoms, 50% have them more than once in a year.

Back Pain Symptoms and Associated Conditions

Back pain symptoms can develop anywhere in the upper or lower back. When centralized in the lower back, this is called lumbago. Although about 90% of cases improve without back pain treatment, the pain can have a severe effect on quality of life. Chronic back pain may last for many years without lasting relief.

Experts generally agree back pain symptoms have been increasing over the last two decades. This is driven by sedentary lifestyle, more office-based occupations, and increased prevalence of obesity in American adults. Pain may be mild, moderate, or severe, and may change location over time.

Back pain is not necessarily caused by a severe underlying condition. However, stress on the body over time may worsen back pain and cause complications. For example, fused vertebrae occur when ligaments and discs between the vertebrae calcify and harden. Back pain may be one sign of this ongoing process.

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Back Pain Medication and Treatments

Most back pain conditions are treated with over-the-counter pain medication. If pain becomes severe or debilitating, or it is related to physical trauma such as an auto accident, prescription pain medications may be used. These can run the gamut from opioids like oxycodone to medical marijuana.

Alternative treatments like yoga and chiropractic can be beneficial for some patients. However, if you are suffering from ongoing back pain, it is crucial to get x-rays and seek the advice of a back health specialist.

Back Pain Recovery and Lifestyle Changes

In many cases, back pain symptoms are traceable to neuromuscular stress brought on by poor posture and aggravating conditions. With that in mind, lifestyle changes such as improved posture or wearing a back brace may be valuable. Weight loss can reduce strain on the back.

When no defects are found in the back, it is a wise idea to evaluate habits and look for things that might cause pain: Old beds and chairs, unhealthy seated posture, and poor lifting techniques can all contribute.

The bones and muscles of the human spine work together to support each other. With that in mind, some patients can reduce back pain by undertaking strength training exercises that target the back muscles.

Back Pain Medical Research

Back pain clinical trials are conducted regularly. Back pain research explores advanced techniques such as spinal stimulation that could reduce symptoms or even restore back function for those with debilitating chronic pain. New back pain medications, including those injected directly into the spine to promote natural back healing, are also being tested.

Current Back Pain Clinical Trials

This list includes all back pain clinical trials now on record with ClinicalTrials.gov. To add your own back pain clinical study to our list, contact us.


Millions of Americans are familiar with back pain. Even when pain comes with no major underlying condition, there is always the risk of long-term degeneration of spinal structures – a serious problem. Back pain clinical research is essential to improving day-to-day pain management. With further back pain clinical trials, relief may finally be in sight, and important lessons can be applied to other pain conditions.

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