The Function of the Lower Back
The back plays an imperative role in ensuring flexibility in movement in our lives. The lower back, referred to also as the lumbar area of the spine, provides structural support and the protection of some body tissues. It is also where most of the back pain occurs. Consisting of five vertebrae (known as L1 to L5) along the tailbone region, the lumbar area provides support for much of the upper body’s weight. We will talk later on how to prevent lower back pain.
Like the rest of the spine, these vertebrae are separated by soft rubbery pads that absorb the shock of movement. These are known as intervertebral discs, held together by ligaments and rooted to the spinal column via tendons. The job of these discs is to cushion the body as it moves. In addition to basic support, the lumbar area is connected to the body with thirty-one nerves and is tasked with control of the lower body’s movement.
Lower back pain is one of the most common diseases that ails the adult human. More than eighty percent of people experience lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. Lower back pain, also commonly known as lumbago, is the leading reason for unexpected missed office days. It is prevalent in most places that involve sitting at a desk, or doing a repetitive task for a long period of time.
Lumbago may be caused by a multitude of reasons, each a different kind of reaction to a certain movement. It may be caused due to a sudden stretch, or due to carrying a heavy load that your body is not used to. It may also be caused by bad posture and a lifestyle that involves sitting or working in the same position for hours without any lower back stretches or lower back exercises.
It is also very possible to develop lower back pain without any obvious cause. In these cases, it is necessary to understand the symptoms and recognize them early on, and then treat them.
Lower back pain ranges in intensity with the reason for its existence in each particular case. In some cases, the ache is dull and seems to involve the entire lumbar region. People have been known to live with this kind of pain for days and even months, without it critically affecting their lifestyle. In other cases, the pain is intense and sharp, and might even render a person unconscious and unable to fully function.
Sometimes, the pain seems to resemble something else. This is because lower back pain also causes muscle spasms and discomfort along the hips and the pelvis. A dislocated disc, or a worn-out disc, may cause pain that seems to originate from the muscle, rather than the lumbar spine. Hence, the reason why it's important to practice lower back stretches and lower back exercises regularly.
Therefore, people must look out for the symptoms of lower back pain. These are categorized based on their intensity:
Acute pain: Acute pain occurs suddenly after the body has suffered some tissue damage of an injury. This pain lasts for a few days or weeks and generally dissolves after the body has healed.
Subacute low back pain: This type of pain may last around three months. This kind of prolonged pain is a signal for some internal injury that is mechanical in nature. The body might need medical aid to recover from an injury like this.
Chronic back pain: Chronic back pain is a kind of lower back pain that lasts for over more than three months. This type of pain is usually severe and cannot be borne without serious medical help and specialist aid.
Physiotherapy and chiropractic treat numbers of conditions such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain and so much more. In fact, any injuries you can think of, it can be treated by physiotherapy and chiropractic. Part of the treatment plan will include lower back stretches and lower back exercises. Modalities such as acupuncture, heat/cold pack, TENS unit are used to reduce the pain.
There are even branches of those two professions such as neuro-physiotherapy which treat any neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson's disease, and Post-stroke as examples.
Seeing as this is an ailment that has hounded the adult human for quite some time, a large array of treatment exists for its various symptoms. Pillars of Wellness Centre in Burlington, for example, offers physiotherapy treatment and chiropractic care for this condition. However, it is indubitably better to have a lifestyle that is healthy enough for the lower back pain to never occur. Prevention, of course, is always better than cure. The following are a few tips on how to ensure the prevention of lower back pain.
1. Lower back stretches and a warm-up by doing some lower back exercises before any strenuous activity that might have a toll on your back. Avoid lifting heavy objects that your body is unused to.
2. Avoid sitting, or remaining in a singular position, for too long. This makes it easy for you to jolt your back unexpectedly.
3. Attempt to fix your posture whenever possible. Slouching causes the spinal column to bend, and the spine functions best when the curvature is reduced. Therefore, always try to remain upright and maintain a good posture.
4. A healthy diet and a properly balanced intake of nutrition are essential for the enhanced and proper functioning of the lumbar spine. An ample intake of vitamins and elements that help bone growth also aid in ensuring a healthy lower back.
5. Wear comfortable shoes that do not harm the curve of your lower back, or put too much strain on your body.
6. Make sure your seating and work area are at a comfortable height. Raise or lower your desk accordingly to the ease of your working position, and take regular breaks.
7. Sleep on a firm surface. During sleep, the spine is relaxed the most and it stretches out. This also means that it is susceptible to injury due to the sleeping posture. Memory foam assists with this kind of thing, but it is best also to understand what sleeping position might be best for your spine, and adjusting accordingly.
These small adjustments to your life can make large positive changes for your lower back. However, it cannot be argued that this condition is still abundantly prevalent. Five in ten people suffer from lower back pain and the estimate of medical costs related to this ailment range from 6 to 12 billion dollars annually.
Keeping these numbers in mind, it is necessary to enlist the aid of a good service and physiotherapy practice in the event that a treatment is required. The Pillars of Wellness Centre in Burlington offers a large range of top-of-the-line treatments for lumbar-related issues. In the event of a treatment of something as delicate as this, it is advised to enlist the help of a specialist service such as physiotherapy or chiropractic.