MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MEHAU KULYK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Back pain. Abstract computer artwork of a bowed human figure, with concentric red circles depic- ting back pain. Pain in the lower back (lumbago) is very common. It is usually caused by strain and heavy lifting which may injure soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) around bones of the spine. It may also indicate a more serious underlying disorder, such as arthritis, slipped disc or a fracture. In post-menopausal women it may also indicate osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) in which vertebral bones may crumble or fracture more easily. Treatment involves diagnosing the cause of the back pain, and the use of painkilling drugs.
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