As lifestyles have changed over the centuries, so have our daily routines. For several generations now, back pain has been considered the “illness of the century,” as it continues to affect people worldwide.

Contrary to popular belief, manual labor is not the cause. In fact, as our lifestyles have become more sedentary and the number of people practicing sports has decreased, our backs have been paying the price.

In 2014, 95,000 Belgians reported long-term back problems, an increase of 79 percent over 2005. In comparison, 20,000 Belgians had cancer that year.

Stress levels have continued to increase in the 21st century as our lifestyles have become increasingly focused on performance goals and competitiveness. This increase in stress can help explain many back problems, as the stress that tends to accumulate in the upper back can create tension and pain in the lumbar vertebrae, resulting in chronic back problems that are often hard to cure.