• Stuart Rose

Lower Back Pain : Spine Shape and Chimpanzees

Updated: Jan 3

Lower back problems and pain are a common issue.

One of the most common causes of lower back pain is what is commonly referred to as a ‘slipped disc’.

This is where the disc between lower vertebrae of the spine degenerates to the extent where some of the soft core prolapses, i.e. slips out.

This reduces the cushioning between the vertebrae in the spine and may also cause pressure on local nerves leading to back or neck pain, spasms, numbness or tingling in the arms or searing pain down one or both legs. In severe cases a slipped disc can damage the spinal cord.

By the age of 35 years, around 30% of people have evidence of disc degeneration and by age 60 years more than 90% will. For some, this causes only minimal discomfort but for others disc degeneration can lead to pain as described above.

A recent study, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology studied the shape of vertebrae in the spine in people who have degeneration of these discs and compared these to our evolutionary close primate relatives.

The results were very interesting. Researchers found that individuals who have degeneration of discs have vertebrae which are towards the ancestral end of the range of shape variation within humans and are less well adapted for bipedalism.

Also, individuals with signs of slipped disc had vertebrae which were indistinguishable from those of chimpanzees.


People with damage to discs in the spine have a spine shape which is identical to those of chimpanzees and one which is less adapted to walk on two legs.

... Okay - so you don’t have to copy chimps and walk on feet and knuckles!!

Clinical Hypnotherapy has been shown in research to be effective in pain management and relief. A study from 2007 in the International Journal for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis indicated that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic pain problems. Also, hypnosis was generally found to be more effective than non-hypnotic interventions such as attention, physical therapy, and education.


Columbia University Medical Centre Department of Neurosurgery (2015) Herniated Intervertebral Disc Disease. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed: 12 August 2015].

Elkins G, Jensen, MP & Patterson DR, (2007) Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 55. pp275-287.

Plomp, K. A., Viðarsdóttir, U. S., Weston, D. A., Dobney, K. and Collard, M. (2015) The ancestral shape hypothesis: an evolutionary explanation for the occurrence of intervertebral disc herniation in humans. BMC Evolutionary Biology. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed: 12 August 2015].

Hypnotherapy Bolton : Stuart Rose is an Registered Hypnotherapist with the National Council for Hypnotherapy
Stuart Rose, Anxiety Specialist is a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine offering specialist clinical hypnotherapy in Bromley Cross, Bolton.
Hypnotherapy Bolton - Stuart Rose is a Registered Hypnotherapist accredited by the UK Government backed Accredited Register and regulator, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council
Bolton Hypnotherapy - Stuart Rose - member of the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH)
Are you looking for qualified and registered hypnotherapy treatment for anxiety, depression or a related condition? Stuart Rose, Anxiety Specialist Clinical Hypnotherapist in Bolton is a member of the Hypnotherapy Directory
Hypnotherapy in Bolton at Positive Change

Anxiety Specialist Clinical Hypnotherapy Practice in Bolton

Our Anxiety Specialist Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist:

Stuart Rose (Bsc) Hons 1st Class - Psychology, HPD, PNLP, PG Cert CBT and Counselling, MNCH.

Address: Bromley Cross Physiotherapy Clinic, 3 Bromley Cross Road, Bromley Cross, Bolton, BL7 9LS.

Tel: 01204 794776