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Amazing back facts

Spinal Advice: Interesting back facts

The Spine is an amazing piece of kit! While supporting our head and providing an upright posture it also protects the spinal cord that carries nerves that serve our body. It also provides attachments for muscles and ribs and acts like a shock absorber when we sit down, run, jump and walk. If you watched the Olympics this year will have at some point been amazed by the movements and positions the athletes manoeuvred themselves into – without our spines we would not have been able to do this! Here are some interesting back facts.

Going under the knife- In only 2% of cases where people have back pain, is surgery necessary. Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and doctors can often sort out backaches. Surgery is sometimes necessary when back pain is relentless or the patient is experiencing nerve compression or incontinence.

The lowdown on back pain –Most people have lower back pain at some point. This is because the lower back bears the weight of the upper body and is the junction between the stiff solid pelvis and the flexible bendy spine.

Bending over backwards – The spine consists of 33 bony segments, the vertebrae. The discs lie between these. They are tough and spongy and work as shock absorbers, and give the spine flexibility – the spine can in fact bend far enough to form two-thirds of a circle.

Branching out –Nerves from the spinal cord branch out and leave the spine through spaces between the vertebrae at the levels of the discs.

Not tonight, dear. I have a backache –Backache is second only to headaches as the most common location of pain.

Sitting ducks – Many people who often have back pain lead inactive sedentary lives.

They don’t call them stones for nothing – Severe intermittent back pain that goes down to your groin, could indicate that you have kidney stones.

You’ve got lots of company – In any two-week period of time, between 25 – 33% of all adults get some form of back pain.

Tilt that angle – Cyclists often experience back pain, which can often be rectified by adjusting the angle of the bicycle seat or performing strengthening exercises.

Right down the middle. Pain in the middle of your back, which becomes worse after eating, could indicate a stomach ulcer.

The centre of it all – The spine, for all intents and purposes, is like central scaffolding for the rest of the body. The skull, the ribs, the pelvis and the limbs are attached to it.

So why do we get back pain? – Poor posture at home and at work, stiff joints and muscles that place other joints under strain, repetitive over loading (running on hard ground for many years or heavy lifting), genetic predisposition, disease of the spine, the list goes on..

Try this for strength- The spine is so strong that it can withstand the pressure of hundreds of kilograms.

All on its own – 80 to 90% of back pain resolves itself within a month to six weeks.

Help or hindrance?  Prolonged use of back braces and supports can actually weaken the muscles in your back, thereby contributing to the problem.

Red alert –  When certain conditions, are present together with back pain, such as loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness, pins and needles, rapid weight loss, a history of cancer, or drug use, pain unrelated to movement, the patient should receive immediate medical attention.

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