Back pain – a product of excessive or insufficient exercise?

May 4, 202308:31

Many suffer from back pain at some point in their life. According to Adjunct Professor Janek Frantzén, a recent surge in back problems among young people can also be observed. Read the observations by Adjunct. Prof. Frantzén on why back pain can be caused by both extremes of movement routine.

The text is based on an interview with Adjunct Prof. Frantzén at the EUROSPINE 2019 in Helsinki, Finland.

Back pain might derive from spinal deformities, instability or herniated disks (2). Other causes may be e.g. infection or tumors. According to spine and neurosurgeon Adjunct Prof. Janek Frantzén, being seated both at work and during leisure time burdens the spine.

“We are sitting our backs apart. Seated work and spare time is very burdensome on the spine”, says Adjunct Prof. Frantzén.

He finds it worrying that also young people have back pain to a greater extent than previously. This, he says, is mainly due to inactivity but also to sports. High expectations might be argued to be the reason for increasing stress fractures in the spine.

Common treatments include pain relief medication, rest, physical therapy and cortisone injections. But when the pain persists and becomes unbearable, surgical intervention might be the only option. A common surgical procedure to ease the pain is by fusing two or several vertebrae together, using a bone graft and metal plates, screws or cages (3).


Rapid development

The field of spine surgery is a field under rapid development. The techniques are getting better and better for the patients, and more cost-effective:

“We are aiming at more conservative surgery, minimally invasive surgery, where you do not have to open up as much. Previously you needed to make long incisions and detach the back muscles, which increased the price of surgeries. Nowadays you can do most surgeries with small incisions and robotics”, says Adjunct Prof. Frantzén.

“We are aiming at more conservative surgery, minimally invasive surgery, where you do not have to open up as much.”  Adj. Prof. J. Frantzén

Although spine problems are reaching new extremes, the scientific, clinical and technological research is also picking up speed. The future of spine surgery is not only moving in a more time and cost-effective direction, but it also is making the future brighter for patients.



Janek Frantzén M.D., Ph.D.

Neurosurgeon, Adj. Professor

Adjunct Prof. Frantzén is a consultant neurosurgeon and Associate Professor at the Turku University Hospital, where he also holds a PhD in Neurosurgery from. Frantzén has extensive experience in the clinical use of bioactive glass in spine surgery. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Bonalive Biomaterials Ltd. where he consults on new developments for smarter innovations for the future.