People who suffer from lower back pain may have spines that are similar to chimpanzees, new research shows. In a study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, researchers analyzed the spine shapes of modern humans, ancient humans, chimpanzees and orangutans. They found that modern humans who had spine shapes most similar to chimps were more likely to have a small lesion that forms in the disc between vertebrae in the lower back, causing pain. These people’s spines are less well-adapted for walking upright, making them more susceptible to back pain.
The research could help doctors to analyze spine shapes to evaluate which people are most likely to suffer from back pain.