Researchers have recently found that back pain can be caused by constricted blood vessels... In the biggest and longest study of its kind so far, Nicholas Ahn, the chief resident in orthopedic surgery at John Hopkins University, went through medical records of 1,300 people over a 50 year span of time. His goal was to see which health risk factors were associated with chronic low back pain. Ahn found that smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol all increased a person's chance of developing an aching back. Patients with high blood pressure were nearly twice as likely to have a problem as those without high blood pressure.
Ahn suspects that the connection is clogged or constricted blood vessels since hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking are all known to cause such problems in the arteries. "This may slow the blood flow to the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain," said Ahn.
If you want to make some good choices, you should quit smoking, watch your diet and become more active. "People should realize that the same things they can do to prevent heart disease may help them avoid low back pain too, says Dr. Ahn.
[The Institute of Nutrititional Science Journal, Vol. 5.8, July/August 2001]