Back pain is the most common complaint among adults under 45 years. Back pain brings life to a complete halt and interrupts careers.
Here is a quick look at the anatomy of the back. Follow the link for a 3D introduction video to the Upper Back or the Lower Back.
- 7 in the neck (the cervical vertebrae),
- 12 in the thorax (the thoracic vertebrae),
- 5 in the lower back (the lumbar vertebrae).
The sacrum, located just below the lumbar vertebrae, consists of 5 fused vertebrae. The tailbone, or coccyx, with its 3 to 5 fused vertebrae, lies just beneath the sacrum. These vertebrae are placed one on top of the other from skull to pelvis. Spongy discs separate the vertebrae. The spinal column is tightly wrapped by muscles and ligaments. The spinal cord is enclosed within the vertebral canal which is formed by the alignment of vertebrae. Ligaments and tendons hold the bones and muscles together.
Learn more about muscle cross-over, facet joints, hip flexors and abs and QLs and paraspinals or to understand muscle tension.
Causes of back pain
- Back pain usually arises from muscle spasm. The muscles supporting the spine go into spasm when we lift things incorrectly, bend over too quickly, or sit in an unsuitable chair, etc.
- Back pain can also be triggered when we sneeze, climb into a car, or simply bending down to pick something up.
- Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, viral infection, bladder or kidney infection, gynecological problems in women, tumors and trauma may also cause back pain.
- Lack of movement and bad posture can affect us when we sit or stand for long periods of time. Repetitive motion like too much bending, lifting or twisting also affects our back.
- Other possible reasons include:
• Wearing high heeled shoes
• Carrying heavy weight
- Stay calm.
- A complete bed rest for 24 – 48 hrs relieves back pain in most instances.
- Walk a little every few hours to keep the blood flowing and the muscles active.
- Keep the muscles well conditioned by improving sitting, standing, stretching exercises.
- Well-conditioned muscles are less susceptible to injury.
- Never bend at the waist or stoop to pick up an object.
- Instead, lower the body to the level of the object by bending the knees. Grasp the item, hold it close to the body, and raise yourself with your legs while keeping your back straight.
- Do not lift very heavy objects.
- Whenever possible, prop yourself up.
- Lean against a wall or pillar while waiting for a bus or standing in line at the bank.
- Keep footstools around the house. Alternatively prop up one leg on stool while doing standing chores.
- Sleep on a firm mattress and find a comfortable position.
- Wear low-heeled shoes.
- Standing straight will do wonders for your back.
- Sit on a comfortable chair that supports the curve of lower back.
- While sitting for long hours rest feet on a low stool so that knees are above hips.
- Do not sit or stand in one position for a very long time.
- Get up periodically and walk for a while.
- Avoid activities which hurt back.
- Do not sit in same position for long hours. It may prove hazardous to back.
- Take break in between and move around.
- Avoid becoming overweight.
- Overweight increases the risk of back pain.
See your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms
- If you are above 50 and get a sudden onset of severe pain or pain localized to spine.
- Pain due to recent fall or trauma.
- Pain in hip and leg.
- Back pain unrelated to posture.
- Bowel or bladder control problems.
- Numbness in the groin or rectal area.
- Extreme weakness in legs.
- Unsteadiness while walking.
- Fever or weight loss accompanying the pain.
- Pain that does not lessen over time even after rest.