Back pain is something most of us will experience at some stage during our lives and is the most common reason for missed days at work.
Back pain affects primarily the lower back and the good news is, that in most cases, the cause of pain is not serious and can be resolved in a few days or weeks. However, some symptoms can be more serious requiring a full assessment and diagnosis by an experienced Physiotherapist or GP. This article will help you to determine when self-help is enough or when it is best to seek further advice.
If you are experiencing back pain, our Physiotherapy and Occupational Health teams are here to help by providing comprehensive treatment and advice. On-site workplace or workstation assessments are also available which is the best starting point for back pain at work.
Understanding Your Back
Your spine is made up 24 separate bones called vertebrae which are connected together by a series of ligaments and soft tissue. The lower part of your spine is joined to the sacrum which is part of your pelvis.
The curves, shapes and various sizes of the vertebrae (along with the discs found in between them), help to evenly distribute the weight of your body on the spine and creating the flexibility necessary to bend or rotate your back.
A complex group of muscles are attached to the spine which allows you to move your back. There are also postural muscles which help to maintain the shape and curves of your spine, keeping them in the correct position, as well as help to keep you upright.
The spinal cord passes through the centre of each vertebra. The cord ends in your lower back where it becomes a series of strands called the “cauda equina” (horses tail). Either side of each vertebra are spinal nerve exits from the spinal cord which pass sensory and motor signals between your brain and a certain part of your body which the nerve innervates.