Addressing Back Pain

Disc herniation: upon rupture, a portion bulges out from between the vertebrae, pinching nerves.

What fraction of back pain is caused by disk herniation?  4% of less

Causes for Back and Neck Pain 

  • Mechanical (97%)
    • Strain or sprain -70%
    • Degenerative disease-20%
  • Nonmechanical (1%)
    • Cancer .7%
    • Spondyloarthropathy (disease of the spine joints)-.3%

Clinical Assessment Lacks Specificity

  • Many different pathologies, same sensory endpoint
  • The local innervation of the back is complex
  • The brain probably has limited ability to distinguish pain impulses traveling in the same neurons



Alexander R. Margulis Distinguished Professor and Chair
Professor and Chair

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