Anatomy and Physiology of the Back
The human back is a remarkable collection of muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and bones that are designed to be strong enough to protect our central nervous system while being flexible enough to allow normal body movement.
The back is divided up into three critical sections: The upper thoracic spine section contains 12 vertebral bodies which forms part of the rib cage and is essential for protecting vital organs. The lower lumbar spine section is critical as a weight bearing base and allows flexion, extension, side-flexion and rotation that is essential to everyday movement. This section is the most susceptible to injuries and is often the area where lower back pain occurs.
The final section is the sacral region located at the bottom of the spine which connects to a portion of the pelvis to provide stable mobility.
Injuries within the back can often be life-threatening situations or may consist of pain that ends up in chronic disability. As the back contains a plethora of interconnecting nerves and muscles, ailments such as back pain may be due to minor muscle strains or a more serious injury such as pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve – the single largest nerve in the human body.
Backaches and Stress
Backaches and Stress have been experienced by virtually everyone and can range from mildly uncomfortable to life changing.
Back Sprains and Strains
Back Sprains and Strains are extremely common and can in range in severity from a dull pain to a highly acute sharp pain.
Herniated Disks occur when the spinal vertebrae have been compressed and force the disk between the vertebrae outward.
Low Back Pain is quite common and can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight and strong back, oblique, and abdominal muscles.
Muscle Strains of the Back
Muscle Strains of the Back occur when the muscle fibers of the back are overly stretched and/or torn causing acute pain and soreness.
Osteoporosis is the abnormal loss of bone tissue that leads to fragile porous bones that are susceptible to fractures.