Back pain is one of the most common conditions, at any one time 2 out of every 3 people suffer from back pain and in our life time 80% of the population will be affected by it, the most common cause of back pain is a disc problem.
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ANATOMY OF THE SPINE
The spine is the column of bones called vertebra, these sit on top of one another. The vertebrae each have a cylindrical body in front and a wishbone-like structure sticking out behind forming the knobbly bits that can be felt down the backbone.
Between the wishbone shaped bits is the spinal cord; the spinal cord carries signals up and down the body from the brain.
The discs that so many people have problems with are the brain’s shock absorbers; they sit between the cylindrical bodies of the vertebrae and cushion the judders and shocks that would otherwise travel directly to the brain from each footfall.
WHAT GOES WRONG WITH THE SPINE?
The spine and its vertebrae can be twisted or bent forward allowing the back of the joint to open letting the disc bulge backwards. This presses on the nerve behind as it emerges from the spinal cord causing inflammation and pain.
Lifting a load incorrectly is the most common cause of back problems and demonstrates the need for proper care when lifting.
EXAMPLES OF CAUSES OF BACK PAIN
Bending to pick something up, this does not need to be anything heavy, just bending awkwardly for the mail, lifting children from pushchairs or out of the bath. Another common cause of back pain is carrying the shopping or lifting it out of the car boot.
Prolonged stooping, such as gardening, or leaning down to hold your child’s hand when they are learning to walk can also cause back pain, even slouching on the sofa can give you problems. See slipped disc and sciatica.