Nearly 80% of people suffer from back and neck pains at some point in their lifetime. This makes back and neck pains one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions. Curing back pain is possible if exercise is done correctly under the supervision of a trained physiotherapist.
Your spine is a complex arrangement of various structures such as the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, discs, a spinal cord and nerves. The most basic and perhaps the most familiar structure is vertebra. There are 24 main vertebrae altogether, stacked vertically; divided broadly into three separate regions- the cervical spine (neck- 7 vertebrae), thoracic spine (chest or mid-back, 12 vertebrae) and the lumbar spine (lower back, 5 vertebrae). The spine ends with the sacrum (5 vertebrae) and coccyx (4 vertebrae). These vertebrae are separated and cushioned by discs of cartilage which act as shock-absorbers and allow some motion of your spine such as arching your back and bending forward. One of the best known functions of the spine is to provide protection for the spinal cord which runs through a "hole" in the vertebra, forming bony armour around the cord.
o Postural stress
Poor posture stresses your spine. Ligaments are over-stretched, muscles tire and joints and nerves are put under pressure.
o Disc Problems
Discs are anchored to the vertebrae, above and below, so they cannot 'slip' out of place. They can wear down with age, but most disc problems arise from injury. Discs can bulge or even rupture.
o Arthritis (Spondilysis)
Vertebral and facet joints can be affected by arthritis, causing degeneration and inflammation within the joint and the growth of bony spurs on the edges of the vertebrae.
The sciatic nerves run from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the back of your legs. Irritation anywhere along this pathway will cause pain in the back and legs.
Changes from aging and general wear and tear make it hard for your joint and ligaments to keep your spine in proper position. The vertebrae move more than they should and when one vertebra slides forward on top of another, the bone begins to press on spinal nerves.
o Muscle Strains and Ligament Sprains.
o Infection and Tumor
Back pain varies in intensity. It may be sharp or dull. The type of pain you have depends on the underlying cause of your back pain.
People with back pain may experience some of the following:
o Back pain may worsen with bending or lifting.
o Sitting may worsen pain
o Standing and walking may also worsen pain
o Pain may extend from back into the buttocks or outer area of hip but not down the leg.
o Sciatica is common with herniated disc. This includes buttocks and leg pain and even tingling, numbness or weakness that goes down to foot.
o Medical history and physical examination by medical practitioner or physiotherapist
o Imaging tests like X-ray, MRI, bone scan may help your doctor to confirm your diagnosis.
During the acute phase, anti-inflammatory agents, analgesics, and muscle relaxants may be prescribed for a short period of time. Lumbosacral brace may be used to decrease the lumbar load by stabilizing the lumbar spine.Physiotherapy treatment for LBP often involves a wide range of techniques including Manual therapy, Electrotherapy, Exercise therapy and education about posture and body mechanics.
Exercise Therapy: It is a programme of back exercises designed to teach patients strengthening and flexibility in a pain-free range. It not only improves the patient's physical condition and symptoms but also helps the patient with efficient movement. It provides the patient with movement awareness, knowledge of safe postures and functional strength.
o Don't try to lift objects too heavy for you.
o Lift an object by bending your knees, keep your back straight and hold object close to you.
o Tighten your abdominal muscles. Tightening your abdominals with help supports the back muscles while you lift. Don't hold your breath with tightening the muscles.
o Don't slouch when standing or sitting. Maintain your natural spinal curves.
o Do not twist your back, turn with your feet, not with your back.
o Take regular breaks-Get up and move around for few minutes every hour if you are required to sit for a prolonged time.
—Dr. Sandip Chaudhari Consulting Physiotherapist
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