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Back Pain Research: No New Answers, No New Solutions

Despite years of research, the cause and treatment of back pain remain a mystery. Scientists say its more complex than they ever imagined. Some experts say that thanks to all those studies we know much more about what we don't know than about what we do know!

Having said that, it's important to see what has been accomplished over the years. First, back pain research is being done around the world. That's new in the last 10 years. There's an international group called International Forum on Primary Care Research on Low Back Pain. They have made large strides in quality and quantity of back pain research.

After they created the group, they set up a research agenda. A new field of research around back pain was developed. So far, we don't have new solutions to the problem of back pain. But we know more about where we went wrong in our thinking in years past. As a result, we have stopped using treatments and tests that weren't effective.

One thing hasn't changed. Just as many people are affected by back pain as ever. There seems to be no slowing down the number of people with this condition. And that means the amount of money spent on diagnosing and treating low back pain is on the increase, too.

Scientists specializing in back pain point out that researchers must find new ways to look at an old problem. It's important to recognize that back pain is much more than just back pain. There are complex physical, mental, and social factors that lead to chronic low back pain in all age groups.

Injury isn't the main factor in back problems. Neither is degeneration from aging. These are taking a back seat to the understanding that genetics has a more important role. Finding ways to prevent back pain remains an important research goal.

The research movement focused on back pain is moving forward. More progress has been made than it seems at first glance. Giving up old ideas takes time. This is especially true when there aren't new ideas to replace them yet.

But scientists are predicting a breakthrough. Now that they are looking at belief systems, emotions, fears, and personal concerns of patients, there's bound to be a new model of understanding soon.


Low Back Pain in 2008: A Vibrant Research Movement and a Stubborn Human Problem. In The BACK Letter. May 2008. Vol. 23. No. 5. Pp. 49, 55-57.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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