(STUDY FINDS) -- BALTIMORE — Lower back pain is an almost universal part of the human condition. At some point or another, we’ve all experienced an unpleasant painful sensation radiating from our lower back. Sometimes lower back pain is caused by strain or injury, but in a large percentage of cases, especially among older people, there is no apparent reason for the reported back pain. Now, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine have a new explanation: the cartilaginous tissue in our spines may be growing harder over time, developing into structures that resemble diffuse bone with a Swiss cheese-like structure. The openings in these structures then allow excessive pain-sensing nerves to enter the tissue, causing lower back pain.
The research team came to their conclusions by analyzing and experimenting with genetically engineered and old mice. They are hopeful that their discoveries can one day be used to develop treatments that stop abnormal nerve growth in the spine and subsequent lower back pain.
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