Your spine and back muscles are foundational to everything you do. Even if you’re merely sitting on the couch trying to enjoy a television program, your back may cause you pain, let alone while attempting to lift a heavy object or engage in anything athletic. Issues with pain involving the back and spine are incredibly common, possibly occurring in nearly a quarter of the human population worldwide. Apart from detracting from your ability to enjoy normal life activities, back pain also costs us a terrible amount of work-productivity. It’s actually a leading cause of work-loss days. As such, back problems are not something to leave to hope that they’ll go away on their own. Before we look at some practical steps we can take to lessen the likelihood of further injury and to elicit recovery to whatever pain we may already be experiencing, let’s take a brief overview of what’s going on back there.
There are four regions of the spine:
This region comprises the seven vertebrae (spinal bones) in your neck called C1-C7.
This is the middle segment of your spine, made up of the twelve vertebrae T1-T12.
L1-L5 are the vertebrae in your lower back.
- Sacrum and Coccyx
The lowest part of your spine with two parts: a triangular vertebra (S1) that’s actually five fused vertebrae in adults, and the coccyx commonly called the “tailbone,” which is also 3-5 fused vertebrae.
The vertebrae are separated by discs that function as cushions between the bones to absorb shock. The nucleus of each disc has a very high content of water, which brings us to our next point.
What are some practices in which we can engage that will decrease the probability of further injury or pain to our backs? Having learned that the shock absorbing discs have a high percentage makeup of water, an easy and obvious solution is to ensure that we are properly hydrated. The water you drink is the water that supplies these critically important structures with the springiness that they need to protect each individual vertebra. Of course, drinking healthy amounts of water has many carryovers to other important facets of health, so it’s a great habit regardless of back issues. How much to drink certainly varies by person, but a general rule of thumb is four to six cups of water per day.
The less weight your back is required to support, the easier a time it will have moving and recovering. Losing excess body fat is another general life tip that is conducive to health in general, but as it pertains to the back, multiple studies have shown a significant correlation between obesity and lower back pain, so maintaining a healthy body weight may be one of the factors preventing the occurrence of back pain.
Get stronger all around. The muscles supporting and assisting your spine can help take the load off, allowing you to maintain a proper, painless curvature. Stronger arms and legs also can bear more weight of heavy objects so that your back doesn’t have to be relied upon as much for support. At least 2 days a week of strengthening exercise is recommended by the US Department of Health & Human Services.
While the above basic steps can help and should be employed, sometimes injuries, pain associated with repetitive motion, or arthritis can take your back into areas of pain that are beyond the reach of general health practices. That’s when you can rely upon the expertise of our Licensed Physical Therapy Doctors and Assistants. Our team has the training and successful client experience to assess the best treatment for your condition. It’s not a preset, one-size-fits-all program. We evaluate your limitations and develop a routine that will increase strength, correct your posture and imbalances, and get you back on the road to moving without pain. You can schedule an appointment or get more information by calling us at (941) 264-1414, or you can contact us directly, or email email@example.com.