Why do so many people suffer from low back pain?

In partnership with The European Commission
Why do so many people suffer from low back pain?
By Jeremy Wilks
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80% of people suffer from low back pain at some time in their lives. Why is that? We asked Slovenian expert Dr Martin Zorko.

An estimated 80 per cent of people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives. So why is it such a problem? What's wrong with the human body, our lifestyles, and workplaces? We asked Dr Martin Zorko , a specialist in medicine and rehabilitation at University Clinical Medical Centre Ljubljana in Slovenia.

Humans, dogs & cats

"We call it a bio-social-physical problem," says Zorko. "Maybe we must start with a physical problem. Probably it has something to do with our standing position. So when we moved from being a four-legged animal and started walking on two feet it was about one or two million years ago, and it’s a short time. So we didn’t get all the body adaptations on that. We have the weak point because now the loads are oriented in different directions than they are on dogs or cats. That’s the base."

Sitting & stressing

"The second thing is a modern lifestyle. Sitting, sitting, sitting. And another thing is also a stressful life. We have the sort of stress nowadays where we cannot react by fighting or running away, so you have to live with this. And when you have some problems in a part of your body then these psychological problems can function as amplifiers."

"Then we add to this situation the work that we have to do, like heavy labour. This is another factor that contributes to problems with our spine."

Journalist • Jeremy Wilks

Video editor • William Smith

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