To simplify how back pain is exacerbated by our skeletal and muscular systems, think of yourself as an engineer designing a suspension bridge support system that needs to be flexible and carries most of its weight at the front.
Where would you put the cushioning, support, and reinforcements?
Even if you’ve never built a bridge before, you probably know the answer to this question: You would place the reinforcements and other supporting mechanisms at the front of the structure because this is where the stress is. However, when it comes to our back, the strongest muscles and the thickest cushions are behind us, not in front of us.
Back Pain and the Evolution of the Human Spine
Although the human spine evolved over millions of years to support a creature that walked upright (we were likely back pain free before that!), our spine still carries with it traces of our ancestry. For most primates, the spine serves as a “suspension bridge” from which all other structures and vital organs hang down. The primate spine is quite efficient when used this way, but the human spine went from being a horizontal suspension bridge to a vertical support column – a very dramatic shift. While our spine is definitely better suited for vertical support than, say, a chimp’s spine, our spine is more like a random compromise between suspension bridge and column than a completely different structure from that of our primate cousins. When you add our evolutionary disadvantages together with our modern lifestyle, you might say we are structurally fated to experience significant back pain issues
Wikipedia on Back Pain
Back pain (also known as dorsalgia) is pain felt in the back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine.
Back pain can often be divided into neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain or tailbone pain. Back pain may have a sudden onset or can be a chronic pain; back pain can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. Back pain may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. Back pain may radiate into the arm and hand), in the upper back, or in the low back, (and might radiate into the leg or foot), and may include symptoms other than back pain, such as weakness, numbness or tingling.
Back Pain is one of humanity’s most frequent complaints. In the U.S., acute low back pain (also called lumbago) is the fifth most common reason for physician visits. About nine out of ten adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and five out of ten working adults have back pain every year
The spine is a complex interconnecting network of nerves, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and all are capable of producing back pain. Large nerves that originate in the spine and go to the legs and arms can make pain back radiate to the extremities.
Source: www.backpainmd.com; 2012.