Understanding Back Pain

August 17, 2014

What Is Backache

Backache, obviously means that you are experiencing back pain. Back pain is one of the most common conditions for which people seek medical attention. It has been estimated that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.
 

 

The spine (also called the vertebral column or spinal column) is composed of a series of bones called vertebrae stacked one upon another.

There are four regions of the spine:

  • cervical (neck)

  • thoracic (chest/trunk)

  • lumbar (low back)

  • sacral (pelvic)


Together, the disks and vertebrae function to provide flexibility and shock absorption for everyday activities. Joints exist between each vertebra (facet joints), providing additional flexibility and stability. The lumbar region, often referred to as the lower back, has five vertebrae.

Each ntervertebral disk disease (IVD) is made of fibrous cartilage with a viscous consistency that allows it to absorb stresses while providing flexibility in the spine. In contrast, each vertebra is rigid and provides protection for the spinal cord and its surrounding structures.

Nerves originating from the spinal cord exit the spine through bony canals called intervertebral foramina and extend to muscles and other tissues of the back and lower extremities.

The vertebra-IVD complex is held together by ligaments and muscles. The muscles surrounding the spine, abdomen, and pelvis need to be strong for optimal posture and function. The core or deep muscles of the trunk are activated prior to movement to provide stability. The larger spinal muscles are responsible for creating back movement. Proper timing and coordination of these muscles is important to help reduce stresses placed on the lumbar spine during activities. When muscles become weak, instability of the spine may occur, increasing stress on the ligaments and joints, resulting in pain.

Causes and risk factors

Backache can be caused by a combination of factors including poor posture, poor fitness, work or leisure activities that place abnormal stresses on the spine, changes in bony and soft tissues as a result of age, and other coexisting conditions affecting the surrounding structures. For example, sitting with poor posture for prolonged periods of time will overstress the structures that provide protection and stability to the lumbar spine. In the same way, repetitive activities, such as gymnastics, may overwork certain muscles and under¬use others. Eventually, this repetition may lead to faulty coordination of muscles and backache.

Symptoms and signs

A person experiencing backache may exhibit a variety of symptoms, including localized ache or pain in the lower spinal region, pain that is central over the spine or more to one side, or pain that originates in the back and travels into the buttock region or leg or both. It might also be felt in just one leg or both legs. Other symptoms include numbness or pins and needles, or both, which may also be felt in the back, buttocks, or legs.

Diagnosis and pathogenesis

Diagnoses of backache are achieved through a variety of methods. Generally, the person with backache will be seen by a health care professional (HP) such as a doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor. After con¬ducting a thorough interview, the HP guides the patient through a series of physical tests to determine the underlying cause of injury.

During this examination the HP attempts to rule out any serious pathology that might be mistaken for a musculoskeletal backache, such as cancerous tumors or serious infections. Diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) also help the HP determine the cause of pain.

Bony and soft tissues, such as disk, muscle, or nerves, begin to break down and lose function when abnormal stresses are placed on them. In younger people, the disk can migrate beyond its normal barriers.

This condition is referred to as disk herniation. Pain can be caused by the disk itself or the pressure that it places on surrounding tissues, such as the joints and nerves. In older people, the disk degenerates and loses its shock-absorbing capabilities. Pain or ache may then result from compression of the nearby joint space.

Bone pain may result from degenerative changes at the joint space. Cartilage lining the joint can break down through abnormal wear and tear or from trauma. This degeneration can occur at any level of the spine and can result in pain. Pain may be caused by tightness or abnormal tension within the muscles or the fatigue of being tense all the time. In other situations, the muscles may not contract optimally, result¬ing in abnormal wear and tear of the joint.

Nerve pain is generally caused by compression of the nerves, which will not receive nutrition from the blood supply, resulting in pain. People who experience nerve pain often have symptoms into their buttocks and legs. For most people with backache, anatomical structures are not generally dysfunctional in isolation, but rather in combination. For example, if someone has pain originating from a disk, there is usually also pain from the bones, muscles, and nerves.

Treatments and prevention

Backache with proper maintenance  can lesson the risk of pain and further reaccuring injury. Treatments are appropriate exercises, remaining at work or play, maintaining a positive attitude, and avoiding unnecessary medication. Bed rest is not recommended to manage backache. Continuing with usual activities, modifying them if necessary, is critical to recovery.

 

Victims of "fender-benders" often suffer hidden injuries that can develop into pain. car accident victims who are injured due to an Auto/Work Injury require the right treatment plan to restore their quality of life. Choose an injury doctor that specializes in treating back pain caused by crashes, motor vehicle collision, work accident, as well as sporting events, and falls.

Any activity that can create strain and be painful should be avoided giving the back time to heal properly.

Of course making a conscious effort to maintain a proper posture will ensure less stress on the spine, decreasing strain on ligaments, muscles, and joints. The spine should be "in line" when standing, sitting, and lying the, in order to maintain the natural S-shape curve. Stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles helps in maintaining optimal posture while protecting the spine.

When strengthening muscles it is important to ensure that exercises are specific and functional.

basic home remedies that include and ice or heat to the painful region can act as an as a muscle relaxant. Over-the-counter pain medications can help with pain control.

Exercise and maintaining proper postural alignment is the primary means of preventing further injury and back pain. Other factors is to maintain a healthy body weight and and over health lifestyle will also assist in the prevention of recurring back pain.

 

 

 

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