Anatomy of the Spine
The spine comprises mainly of the spinal column, which is made out of a stack of vertebrae that are placed upon one another. It is also sometimes referred to as the vertebral column.
At the back of the column, a hollow passage is formed, which is referred to as the spinal canal. The spinal cord runs through this canal and is connected to the brain at one end, and along its length, it is connected to various bundles of nerves that branch out through the spaces in-between each vertebra.
Spinal compression causes deformity of the spine, where the spinal column is pressed down and can remain in this constant state of compression, which is what can lead to back problems.
Namely, other components of the spine, such as discs and nerve roots can suffer as a result, where they are placed under pressure. In rare cases, it may even be compressing the spinal cord.
The spine also shortens in length as it is pressed down.
Back Problems that Can Arise
When the spine becomes compressed, it can be associated with back problems such as:
- Disc herniation, bulge, or prolapse.
- Nerve root compression. A spinal nerve that is frequently affected by compression is the sciatic nerve.
- Cauda equina syndrome, which is the pinching of the cauda equina, a nerve root ending situated at the bottom of the spine.
- In more severe cases, it can also lead some people to develop spinal cord compression.
In many cases, disc problems do not present any noticeable symptoms, and many people can go by for long periods of time without being able to tell that one or more of their spinal discs are affected.
Pinching or pressure on the spinal nerves tend to lead to symptoms such as:
- Pain and weakness in the back, neck, or limbs.
- Stiffness and reduced range of motion.
On the other hand, symptoms of spinal cord compression and cauda equina syndrome can be more severe. In addition to those mentioned above, they can also present:
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.
- Severe pain.
- Pins and needles along the back.
- Loss of sensation in the arms, legs, hand, or feet.
While pinched nerves are rarely caused by something serious, the latter two conditions can put your life in danger, and as such should be treated as a medical emergency.
Oftentimes, people try to alleviate pain caused by spinal compression with approaches such as pain medication, which although might be effective for temporary pain management, it does not actually address the core issue.
When your spine is compressed, the main aim should be to relieve pressure that has built up on your spine and that may press down on nearby structures. Stretching exercises and physical therapy may be helpful in this case, but there is an even more extensive approach, that focuses exactly on compression of the spine.
That is spinal decompression therapy. It is a treatment modality that reverses the process of compression and lengthens your spine, freeing it from that constant state of being pressed down. Decompression therapy can be performed from the comfort of your own home, with the help of nothing else but an orthopaedic device designed by spinal specialists with decades of experience, called the Backrack.