According to a study by Dr. A. Vania Apkarian of Northwestern University in Chicago, chronic back pain causes parts of the brain to shrink! The area of the brain that their research has uncovered to shrink is the Gray Matter. This is the part of your brain that contains the "active thinking cells" that are involved in the processing of information and memory. This part of the brain makes up the largest portion of the brain. The study revealed that not only was there less volume in the brains of chronic back pain sufferers, but the gray matter was less dense as well. In addition, Dr. Apkarian reported to Reuters Health that the changes were particularly noticeable in parts of the gray matter that are known to be important in making "emotional assessments,'" including decision making and control of everyday social behavior.
This raises a whole new set of concerns about back pain. It is not the back pain that we are concerned about, it's what is causing the back pain and the consequence of not addressing the underlying problem that worries doctors. The most common cause of back pain in science today is called the vertebral subluxation complex. Subluxations interfere with the proper function of our nervous system and may lead to devastating effects on our health and well-being if left uncorrected.
Many people feel that they can just live with the pain. Most times the pain comes and goes or is mild in nature and the individual puts off care because "it's not that bad." This "living with the pain" may be the biggest mistake they make in their life. The pain may not be that bad, but the long term health concerns are. This mild chronic back pain may actually lead to permanent neurological problems.