The character of low back pain varies from a dull, heavy sensation which simply annoys and depresses, to a sharp, agonizing spasm which is unendurable without sedatives. The cause of the pain is equally variable. The underlying pathologic condition may be located in tissues distant from the seat of the pain; on the other hand, the bony spine itself may be undergoing destruction by disease. Staub lists about sixty causes of low back pain, and even then the possibilities are not exhausted.
Confronted with such a multiplicity of symptoms and causes, diagnosis usually is difficult or uncertain, and consequently treatment is unsatisfactory. In attempting to make a diagnosis, it is absolutely necessary to have some sort of plan as a working basis; and the rough classification given in the accompanying table has been found to be of value.
—Formerly, almost all low back pain in women was thought