What do we know about lower back pain?
Acute and chronic lower back pain
In acute lower back pain, pain appears abruptly, while in chronic lower back pain, pain appears slowly and persists for a long time. Sometimes it lasts for months or even years. Very often acute and chronic lower back pain, are related, with acute pain leading to chronic pain.
What causes lower back pain?
The most common causes of lower back pain are degenerative disc disease, hollow disc and degenerative spondylitis. Nevertheless, the most common form of chronic lower back pain is the “non-specific type,” which is detected in 85% of the cases with no underlying pathology or injury.
Psychological stress and pain
Various studies have shown that the chronicity of back pain is due to psychological stress, reduced ability to deal with daily problems, and even job dissatisfaction.
Second most common reason for a medical visit
Lower back pain is the second most common reason for seeing a doctor, after upper respiratory tract infections. Your doctor has a number of tools at his disposal to diagnose the problem early on and to suggest the proper treatment to relieve the
effects of chronic lower back pain.
Chronic lower back pain and neuropathic pain
In a high rate of people, chronic lower back pain coexists with neuropathic pain, i.e. pain caused by damage to a nerve. Various mechanisms are responsible for this pain, including mechanical compression of the lumbar nerve root due to a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease related nerve damage.
Chronic lower back pain and
Six years ago, scientists discovered a gene that is responsible for the normal structure and strength of the intervertebral disc. When this gene does not function properly, it leads to the rapid degeneration of intervertebral discs causing chronic pain.
New Data on Chronic Neuropathic Lower Back Pain
In 2008, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) describes peripheral neuropathic pain as pain arising as a direct consequence of an injury or disease affecting the peripheral somatosensory system. The causes of peripheral neuropathic pain Include diabetic peripheral neuropathy, herpes zoster infection, radiculopathy, post-traumatic and postoperative pain, etc.
Chronic neuropathic lower back pain is very common and significantly affects the quality of life of sufferers, their job productivity and their mental health. In order to treat peripheral neuropathic pain, it is important to understand the functional changes in the neural network, which lie behind the pathogenesis of pain. In recent years, several findings from preclinical studies have shown that microglia are involved in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain following nerve damage. Microglial cells are considered the most reactive and motile in the nervous system. They are essentially a population of macrophages and constantly monitor the nervous system by controlling the neuronal microenvironment. We know that any change in the homeostasis of the nervous system (infection, trauma, neurodegenerative condition) causes microglia activation. Microglial cells migrate into the area of the nerve damage releasing mediators of inflammation while they change neurotransmission. The involvement of microglia in the maintenance of neuropathic pain is particularly important and is a subject of research for the development of therapeutic preparations that will target this activity.