A look at the back.

Introduction

In the old days back pain and problems were simply called lumbago. A one size fits it all diagnoses for many nonspecific back problems. Nowadays the understanding and treatment is much more advanced as physicians and practitioners understand how complex the back can be.

The back is a complex array of structures that work together to support your body. These can be divided into four distinct regions. Cervical spine, thoracic spin, lumber spine and sacrum and coccyx. Then we have actual parts of the spine and back.

  • Vertebrae – The small interlocking bones that form the spinal column and protect the spinal cord.
  • Spinal cord – long bundle of nerves that run down the back and carries nerve signals from your brain to your body and vice versa.
  • Intervertebral discs – A cushion disc that lies between the vertebrae that act like shock absorbers and allow the spine to move in many directions.
  • Ligaments – short bands of fibrous and tough connective flexible tissue that hold the vertebrae in place.
  • Tendons – cord of tissue that links muscle to your bone.
  • Muscles – The tissue and fibres that support your spine and upper body and help you move.

When one or more of the above parts fail we have a problem, this can be localised in a certain spot or can be very general and radiate out affecting other parts of the body such as legs, shoulders, buttocks and stomach, and for many this can be debilitating, cause intense pain, reduce or movement and lead to time off from work.

Four out of five people will suffer with back pain and problems during their life, so this really can affect anyone but there are certain factors that will increase your chance of having back pain and associated problems. Fitness level and being overweight major contributing factors along with spending too much time being inactive and sitting. Genetics can play a role along with age and certain jobs carry a higher risk factor. Its not just manual jobs this applies to, if you have a desk, you job you can also fall into this category, poor posture, or uncomfortable chair.

Back pain (like most other pain related problems) can be described in the following way. Acute pain, which comes on very quickly but only last a few days or weeks. Subacute pain that can come on suddenly or over a few days and last for several weeks. Then finally chronic pain, again this can come on suddenly or over time and last for months

Compared with placebo, there was a beneficial effect of PEMF therapy on pain, stiffness, and physical function in patients with osteoarthritis. Duration of treatment may not be a critical factor in pain management

Taken from a 2020 study into the use of PEMF therapy on pain, stiffness, physical function and quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis.

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