Most people will experience minor back problems and pain at one time or another.
Symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, from overuse injury, during sports or recreational activities, from injury during work or home tasks. Back pain can occur anywhere from the neck to the tailbone (coccyx). Back injuries are the most common cause of back pain, whether those injuries arise from daily activity, tripping, falling or twisting the spine; or severe back injury from trauma; car accidents, direct blows to the back or the top of the head.
Your risk of back pain increases as you age, if you have a family history of back pain, sit for long periods, lift heavy objects, or have a degenerative disease such as osteoporosis. Although most back problems occur in adults aged 20 to 50, if they occur in children under the age of 20 or in adults over the age of 50, they are more likely to have a serious cause.
Understanding the regions and structures of the lumbar spine can help you be more involved in your health care and better able to care for your back problem.
The human spine is made up of 24 stacked bones (vertebrae) and cushions of soft tissue (discs) together forming the spinal column. When seen from the side the spine forms three natural curves. The cervical curve is the neck area. The thoracic curve is at the chest level and the lumbar curve is the lower back. The sacrum and coccyx are 2 fused bones at the bottom of the spine. Viewed from back to front, the spinal column should be in a straight line. When properly aligned, it keeps the body balanced and comfortable. The spinal column is the body’s main upright support.
The lumbar vertebral bodies are taller and bulkier compared to the rest of the spine. This is partly because the low back has to withstand pressure from body weight and from movements such as lifting, carrying, and twisting. Large and powerful muscles attaching on or near the lumbar spine place extra force on the lumbar vertebral bodies.
The discs normally work like shock absorbers. They protect the spine against the daily pull of gravity. They also protect the spine during heavy activities that exert strong force, such as jumping, running and lifting.
The spinal cord is like a long wire made up of millions of nerve fibers. Just as the skull protects the brain, the bones of the spinal column protect the spinal cord. Between vertebrae, two large nerves branch off the spinal cord, one on the left and one on the right. These spinal nerves group together form the main nerves that go to the organs and limbs. The nerves of the lumbar spine (cauda equina) go to the pelvic organs and lower limbs. A bulged or herniated disc can narrow the opening and put pressure on the nerve.
The muscles of the low back are arranged in layers. The middle layer, called the erector spinae, has strap-shaped muscles that run up and down over the lower ribs, chest, and low back. They join in the lumbar spine to form a thick tendon that binds the bones of the low back, pelvis, and sacrum. The deepest layer of muscles attaches along the back surface of the spine bones, connecting the low back, pelvis, and sacrum. These deepest muscles coordinate their actions with the muscles of the abdomen to help hold the spine steady during activity.
Precision Orthopedic & Sports Medicine’s Approach to Back Care:
Whether you have had a back problem for some time, or have just started experiencing back pain, we help you find the cause and get you on the road to recovery often the same day. Most back pain can be relieved without the need for invasive treatment or surgery. We bring together our team of back pain specialists and sophisticated technology to focus on you and your back. . We offer you swift, accurate diagnosis and immediate pain management. Our team of specialists will explore all other avenues of treatment before recommending surgery to treat your back pain.