Checkout this article, written in 2010 which analysed the research undertaken into back pain in the previous 20 years.

The fall of the postural–structural–biomechanical model in manual and physical therapies: Exemplified by lower back pain‘ Eyal Lederman.  CPDO Ltd., 15 Harberton Road, London N19 3JS, UK

The conclusions: *There is no correlation between pain and posture, structure and biomechanics.*

 

The following studies were undertaken to evaluate the benefit of MRI scans and to investigate the link between spinal degeneration and back pain. Again, no link was found between pain and spinal degeneration/wear and tear in the spine.

1) European Spine Journal (PMID: 22990606), 2013, 708–13. M Matsumoto et al
Tandem age-related lumbar and cervical intervertebral disc changes in asymptomatic subjects.’

‘MRI showed degenerative changes [including protrusions, compressions and stenosis] in both the lumbar and cervical spine in 78.7% of the [asymptomatic] volunteers [mean age 48].’

2) Journal of the Korean Neurosurgical Society (PMID: 23440899), 2013, 31–8. SJ Kim et al
‘Prevalence of disc degeneration in asymptomatic Korean subjects. Part 1: lumbar spine.’

Conclusions: ‘Lumbar MRI of asymptomatic volunteers (age 14–82, mean age 46) showed 60% had bulges, 45% had protrusions, 31% had extrusions, 76% had annular fissures, 76% had nuclear degeneration.’

3) Spine (PMID: 11295915), 2001, 149–54. N Karppinen et al
Severity of symptoms and signs in relation to magnetic resonance imaging findings among sciatic patients.

Conclusions: ‘No correlation was found between symptoms and the degree of disc displacement, nerve root enhancement or nerve compression in 160 patients with unilateral sciatica.’

4) New England Journal of Medicine: Vol 331; 69 – 73, July 14th 1994, No. 2     Maureen C Jensen et al
‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People without Back Pain’

Conclusions: On MRI examination of the lumbar spine, many people without back pain have disk bulges or protrusions, but not extrusions. Given the high prevalence of these findings and of back pain,the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrusions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental

5) The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol 72, Issue 3 403-408, 1990     SD Boden et al
Abnormal magnetic-resonance scans of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic subjects: A prospective investigation

Conclusions: About one-third of the subjects were found to have a substantial abnormality (57% in the over 60s)

5) Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery – British Volume, Vol 87-B, Issue 8, 1111-1116.   C. A. Ranson et el
Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic professional fast bowlers in cricket

Conclusions: The relationship between the radiological findings, pain and dysfunction remains unclear.

6) Occup Environ Med 2000; 57: 116 – 120 (February)   Anne-Marie Feyer et al
The role of physical and psychological factors in occupational low back pain: a prospective cohort study

Conclusions: Other than a history of LBP, pre-existing psychological distress was the only factor found to have a pre-existing influence on new episodes of LBP. Increased levels of psychological distress preceded the occurrence of new episodes of pain by only short intervening periods, implying a role for acute distress in the onset of the disorder.

8) Ann Rheum Dis.2003; 62: 371-372 Centeno and Fleishman
Degenerative disc disease and pre-existing spinal pain

Conclusions: ‘Degenerative disc disease, as seen on imaging, is not a painful condition.’

9) The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American) 83:1306-1311 (2001) David G. Borenstein et al
The Value of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine to Predict Low-Back Pain in Asymptomatic Subjects’ A Seven-Year Follow-up Study

Conclusions: ‘The findings on magnetic resonance scans were not predictive of the development or duration of low-back pain.Individuals with the longest duration of low-back pain did nothave the greatest degree of anatomical abnormality on the original,1989 scans.’

10)  Psychosomatics  (2001) 42(1): 21–8. B Van Houdenhove et al
‘Victimization in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia in tertiary care:  a controlled study on prevalence and characteristics.’

Conclusions: ‘CFS and FM patients showed significantly higher prevalence of emotional neglect and abuse and of physical abuse, with a considerable subgroup experiencing lifelong victimisation. The family of origin and the partner were the most frequent perpetrators.’

11) Journal of Psychosomatic Research (2004) 57(5): 417–22. M Kivimäki et al
‘Work stress and incidence of newly diagnosed fibromyalgia: prospective cohort study.’

Conclusions: ‘Stress seems to be a contributing factor in the development of fibromyalgia.’

12) European Psychiatry 2000 15(5): 295–301. UM Anderberg et al
‘The impact of life events in female patients with fibromyalgia and in female healthy controls.’

Conclusions: ‘Stressful life events in childhood/adolescence and in adulthood seem to be very common in fibromyalgia syndrome. Furthermore, the life events were experienced as more negative than the life events experienced by healthy controls.’

13) Disability and Rehabilitation (1999) 21 (1): 23-30  RT Goldberg et al
‘Relationships between traumatic childhood events and chronic pain.’

Conclusions:  ‘Child traumatic events are significantly related to chronic pain’.

14)  Pain  (2009), 92–6. GT Jones et al
‘Adverse events in childhood and chronic widespread pain in adult life: Results from the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study

Conclusions: ‘Children (age 7 years) who had experienced hospitalisation from car accident, institutional care, maternal death or familial financial hardship were statistically more likely to suffer from chronic widespread pain as an adult at follow-up (age 45 years).’

15) Headache (2010), 50(9): 1473–81. R Anda et al
‘Adverse childhood experiences and frequent headaches in adults.’

Conclusions: ‘Each of the adverse childhood experiences was associated with an increased prevalence and risk of frequent headaches.’

16) Arthroscopy (2005) May;21(5):557-61. LD Kaplan et al
‘Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee in asymptomatic professional basketball players.’

Conclusions:We found a large number of patella-femoral articular cartilage lesions in our study population of male professional basketball players. These athletes perform at the highest demand level, which indicates that the presence of these lesions did not cause any symptoms.’

17) Am J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;39(4):715-21. ML Silvis et al
‘High prevalence of pelvic and hip magnetic resonance imaging findings in asymptomatic collegiate and professional hockey players.’

Conclusions: ‘No participants reported symptoms related to pelvic or hip disorders. Overall 77% asymptomatic hockey players demonstrated MRI findings of hip or groin pathologic abnormalities.’