Back pain is one of the commonest symptoms reported by doctors in general practice. According to an estimate, 4 out of 5 of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. The most frustrating thing about back pain (you would know, if you are reading this blog post) is that the conventional methods of treatment work only for a while.
So, what exactly causes lower back pain and how do you take care of it, forever?
Anatomy of the Back
Now, before we go into the details of causes of lower back pain, let's have a closer look at the anatomy. Back is principally made up of bones, muscles and ligaments. Now, the bones (called vertebrae, 24 in number, aligned on top of each other) form the vertebral column or the back bone. The main function of the back bone is protecting the spinal cord which runs through a hole in each of these vertebrae. In addition, attaining an erect posture is an important function.
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However, to be able to move about and carry out day to day movements like reaching out and bending and picking things up, the back bone has to be flexible and hence, the need for small bones. However, so as not to sacrifice too much on stability in favour of flexibility, the back is supported by a network of ligaments and muscles.
Minor injuries to either of these components or compression of the nerve that emerge from the gaps in between the vertebrae can cause lower back pain as well as symptoms radiating to the neck, arms or legs.
Type of Pain
Back pain can come on suddenly without any forewarning and recede suddenly as well within a matter of a few days without you having to do anything. However, more often than not, back pain is a dull, aching background pain which may last for years. It is this kind of pain where the organic cause cannot be found and thus is more difficult to treat.