The spine is made up of individual vertebrae which are joined together by the discs, joints and ligaments. The vertebrae collectively form the spinal column which protects the spinal cord; nerves branch off from the spinal cord. i.e. The sciatic nerve.
The spine is also influenced by muscles, dynamic muscles which move the spine and the smaller 'core stability' muscles which help support the spine.
Back pain is not the same as a back problem. A back problem begins to develop before the first episode of pain and can remain after the pain subsides.
Back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in his or her life but it is rarely serious.
If you have had severe pain which gets worse over several weeks instead of better, or if you are unwell with back pain, you should seek help.
You should also seek advice if you have:
- Difficulty in passing or controlling urine
- Numbness around your back passage or genitals
- Weakness in both legs
The most common back problems are due to pain from the joints, nerves, discs or the soft tissues. Your Physiotherapist can explain what is causing your pain.
These structures are at risk by:
- Degenerative change
- Muscle weakness
- Structural defects
- Static positions i.e. poor seating
- Emotional stress
- Different postures may cause spinal pain
How should my back pain be treated?
- Simple pain killers can be used to manage your pain
- With more complicated back problems you may need further advice on medication
- A cold pack or local heat can be used for short term symptomatic relief
- Short periods of rest are appropriate for severe pain
- But try and keep gently moving as much as possible
- Try and avoid external supports
- Specific exercises can be given to you by your Physiotherapist at this stage.