Musculoskeletal disorders that lead to low back, neck, shoulder, knee, and other joint pain affect over 1.3 billion people and are the leading cause of disability worldwide.
In particular, low back and neck pain drive a significant portion of the physical, emotional, and financial burden these disorders present. In the United States alone, we spend around $100B per year treating low back and neck pain, and around 80% of people will experience related symptoms at some point in their lifetime.
One of the primary reasons spine and other musculoskeletal disorders are so prevalent and costly is that we don't truly understand the complex causal pathways that lead to the development of these disorders. The development of a spine disorder can be influenced by a variety of physical, psychosocial, and personal factors such as occupational exposures, exercise, trauma, rest, mental health, stress, job satisfaction, genetics, and anthropometry. However, we don't always know which specific factors are most important for a given individual or precisely what combination is best or worst. Each individual's disorder causal pathway is unique, making it difficult to prevent or even treat these problems.