Anatomy of the spine
At birth, our spine consists of a total of 33 individual vertebrae (cylindrical-shaped spinal bones that stack on top of the other). As we grow, some of these vertebrae fuse together, leaving us with 24 vertebrae in adulthood.
These bones make up the main support in our body in the form of the spinal column, allowing us to sit, stand, walk, run, and even lay down properly. At the back of the vertebrae, a hollow canal, known as the spinal canal is formed. The spinal cord passes through this canal. Out of it, several nerve roots branch out and connect the central nervous system to various parts of the body.
For a healthy spine, the various spinal nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones need to be strong as well. If any of these parts are affected with a disease, injury, or strain will cause pain.
If you watch from the side, the curvature of the spine in humans has an S shape, which is the natural shape for an adult. The three curves in the spine, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curve work like a coiled spring that maintains our balance, bears shock and allows different angles and motions throughout the spinal column.
The spine connects to most parts of our body. It connects several nerves to the brain, which makes possible communication and send signals to the body on when, and if to move. To get a better understanding of spinal conditions that may be affecting the spine, we need to know the types of common spinal problems that tend to affect the spine. These are:
- Physical injuries
- Wear and tear (degeneration) of spinal structures
- Postural disorders
Things to consider
People with neck or back pain can have multiple reasons for their conditions. Various tissues may contribute to neck pain or back pain, including vertebrae, ligaments, neural structures, muscles, intervertebral discs, and fascia.
Various spine disorders can also damage these tissues. The most common reason for back-related issues comes to people of advanced age because of the degenerative changes or repetitive traumas their back had to suffer throughout the years.
The spinal condition that affects the patient and causes symptoms can be found out through careful consideration of the patient’s medical history, physical examination, and the right diagnostic studies. Once the problem is diagnosed, proper treatment and care can start.
Any region of the spine can be affected, meaning the lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and cervical spine. However, the lumbar and cervical spine are most often affected. Pain in the thoracic section is less common because this region is firm.
A person gets more strains and sprains in the lumbar and cervical region because these need to bear weight and involve more functioning and movements.
When the tissue fiber is strained or ripped at unusual angles, lumbar muscle strain occurs, and when the ligaments are abnormally stretched, a lumbar sprain is caused, causing low back pain.
In the strained or sprained lumbar spine, the tissues get inflamed and thus cause muscle spasms and pain.
How to Identify Spinal Disorders
For cervical and thoracic pain, a person may feel pain in the inner soft tissue without the pain flowing into the chest, legs, or arms. However, if the pain radiates into the chest wall or other extremities, this signifies potential nerve pinching in the spine.
Other symptoms include the inability to move or maintain a correct posture, stiffness in the lower back, and muscle spasms with or without activity.
Common Spine Conditions
Some of the most common spine conditions that affect the spine include:
Some of these conditions, such as disc herniation, tend to go away on their own with sufficient rest. However, for other conditions, they cannot be treated, but the pain they cause can be managed. When taking this approach, it is best to use a natural method to address the pain and other symptoms you may be feeling.
One of the best things you can do to treat your spine naturally, is to use a spinal decompression device, such as the Backrack, to remove any pain or stiffness along your spine.
Non-Invasive Back Pain Treatment
When to see a doctor
It needs to be noted whether the person can walk on tiptoes or if the pain exceeds more than 10 to 14 days. If the pain persists for a long period of time, doesn’t improve, and more symptoms, such as a fever, start to appear, it is recommended that you seek a diagnosis from spine specialists, followed by medical treatment.
Obtaining a diagnosis helps determine whether your symptoms are caused by common spine problems, or if the symptoms are due to more serious spinal conditions such as spinal fractures, which may require spinal surgery, such as a spine fusion, which is done by a highly-trained spine surgeon.