Back Pain

Back Pain
Anatomy of the back

  * The backbone, or spine, supports the weight of the upper body and makes movement possible. Because the spine is involved in nearly every movement the body makes, it is particularly vulnerable to injury, aches, and pain.

  * The spine consists of a stack of spool-like bones called vertebrae that forms a column reaching from the base of the skull down to the hip area. The spine is divided into five sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and coccyx.
  * Discs sit between the vertebrae to separate the bones and keep them from scraping against one another. These discs have a gel-like core that acts as a cushion to absorb the shocks and jolts that come with movement. The core is surrounded by a jacket of tough fibrous material that keeps the gel in place.
  * The vertebrae are linked together with bony knobs that form joints called facet joints. These joints allow the vertebrae to move and give the spine flexibility and mobility.
  * The spinal cord runs down the center of the spinal column, carrying the nerve impulses that permit movement and transmitting sensations such as pain.

Anatomy of the neck

  * The vertebrae of the cervical spine contain openings that allow arteries to pass through and carry blood to the brain.

  * The atlas (first vertebra) is more like a ring, and the axis (second vertebra) has a bony knob on top. The knob of the axis pivots in the atlas, allowing the neck to rotate. The next five vertebrae also provide large degrees of motion, but it is primarily side-to-side bending.

Lower back pain causes
  * Acute: pain starts suddenly and lasts for a short time. It is one of the ways the body has of alerting us to a problem, so we can stop what we are doing to minimize the damage. For example, if you try to lift an object that is too heavy or if you try to lift something the wrong way, you are likely to experience a sharp pain warning you to stop immediately.
  * Chronic: pain that...