The general condition known by the term ‘back pain’ includes sore tendons and muscles, prolapsed (also known as ‘slipped’) discs, fractures and other problems affecting the spine and back. Back pain can develop slowly over an extended period of time, or it can be the result of an accident or similar trauma to the body.
The spinal column in a human being is a quite extraordinary mechanism, being the body’s main structural support. The spine is strong and stable enough to keep us standing upright (just consider the weight of the upper body, arms and head that it supports) whilst also being flexible enough to allow for a wide range of movement and flexibility.
The spine, or backbone, is made up from a stack of 24 individual bones, the vertebrae. When looked at from the side, a healthy spine follows an S-shape, curving back at the shoulders and then forwards at the neck and at the small of the back. It also houses and protects the spinal cord, which is the highly intricate network of nerves which runs through the vertebrae and which transmit feeling and control movement throughout the whole body.
What causes Back Pain?
Back pain is very high on the list of ailments which are self-inflicted, most back pain is not caused by serious damage or disease but by minor sprains, strains or injuries, or perhaps a trapped or irritated nerve. These are often the result of bad habits which have usually developed over an extended period of time.
Common bad back habits include:
- Poor general posture while standing and walking
- Sitting incorrectly, especially for long periods without taking a break – e.g. at a desk or while driving
- Pushing, pulling and lifting incorrectly – this doesn’t necessarily have to be heavy objects
- Bending or twisting awkwardly or for long periods of time
- Overexertion or – for example during sport, especially without proper warming up
- Overusing the muscles by making repetitive movements (repetitive strain injury)
One of the more frequent types of back pain results from straining the bands of muscles which surround the spine. Although such strains can actually occur at any point along the length of the spine, they tend to occur primarily in the curve of the lower back. The second most common location is at the base of the neck.
Nonspecific Back Pain
Sometimes back pain can occur for no readily apparent reason – a condition known as nonspecific back pain. Nonspecific back pain may result from muscles that are already weakened and cannot handle every day tasks such as walking, bending or stretching. In other cases, the discomfort appears to come from general tension within the body, often associated with lack of proper sleep (which affects around a third of adults in the United Kingdom) and/or stress.
Are you suffering from a bad back in Hassocks?
Stephanie Witts at The Pain Relief Clinic is a registered Osteopath and an expert in the treatment of back pain and other disorders. Find out more about The Pain Relief Clinic and Stephanie Witts, and if you’re looking for an osteopath in Hassocks why not get in touch today, there’s no need to suffer in silence.
The Pain Relief Clinic Hassocks 01273 04 78 81.