The specific causes of lower back pain remain illusive. Studies show eight in ten people experience back pain at some point in their lives. A federally-funded University of Kentucky study is focusing on the mechanics of the back. Dr. Babak Bazrgari is a biomedical engineer at UK. He says age is a factor. "We are seeing like as they get older, they perform activities like the way that they move their trunk is such that it impose a higher load on the spinal column," said Bazrgari.
Bazrgari is working with veteran physical therapist Arthur Nitz. The latest Global Burden of Disease Study ranked low back pain as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Bazrgari says the research could help reduce lost work time due to back problems. "Whether it is direct cost associated with health care related or indirect costs like you're not losing work days or like training new workers. Pretty much the first thing is reducing suffering and those other things will come up as a result of that," added Bazrgari.
Bazrgari says study needs to continue on the effects of aging. He says it's becoming more apparent aging itself can change the mechanics of the back. 40 people are currently enrolled in a UK study on aging and back issues. Bazrgari says researchers are still seeking 20 more study participants.