HomeTechnologySpace travel: Going to space is a real pain in the back

Space travel: Going to space is a real pain in the back

A new study has found that astronauts who spend six months on the International Space Station (ISS) experience back pain and muscle loss. While their height temporarily increases by up to 2 inches, their supporting muscles in the spine weaken. More than half of US astronauts report back pain, with up to 28% experiencing moderate to severe pain that can last for the duration of their mission. Upon return to Earth’s gravity, astronauts also have a 4.3 times higher risk of a herniated disc. The study, funded by NASA, suggests that the cause of the back issues is not the intervertebral discs, but rather the degeneration and atrophying of the supporting muscles in the lower spine. The team is concerned about the impact on long-term manned missions, such as a trip to Mars, where the potential for muscle atrophy and deconditioning exists. The study recommends incorporating more exercises targeting the core and spine into astronauts’ workout routine on the ISS, including yoga. Additionally, the study proposes virtual reality exercise programs to make workouts more fun and competitive for astronauts.