Back problems may be the result of an injury, a degenerative disease, poor posture or even infection. In many cases, back problems manifest themselves in the form of pain, stiffness and impaired gait, which can lead to decreased activity. In some cases, these problems are serious enough to warrant a person taking time off from work and seeking medical help. Back problems can be treated by physiotherapy with very positive outcomes.
Some common back problems are:
• Herniated discs - This occurs when the discs in the vertebrae of the spine become ruptured. This is a very painful condition.
• Injuries, as in the case of sprains and fractures. These may be brief or chronic and may occur from improper lifting or twisting. Falls and accidents can also lead to injury.
• Scoliosis or curvature of the spine. This throws the spine out of alignment and causes pain later in life.
• Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
• Spinal stenosis - a narrowing of the spine that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
• Osteoporosis - while not painful in itself can lead to fractured vertebrae which cause pain.
• Fibromyalgia - this causes widespread pain and fatigue.
• Infections, as in the case of osteomyelitis. This involves the vertebrae and can cause pain.
• Stress - This causes back muscles to become tense and painful.
The lower back is a region that is easily susceptible to back pain, as it connects the upper and lower back and bears most of the weight of the body. Housewives, athletes, gardeners and workers who do heavy lifting on their jobs often sustain back injury during the course of their duties.
Preventing back problems.
Back problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis that result from wear and tear may be unavoidable, as well as those that result from car accidents, falls or some other injury. However some back problems can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise. Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercises like walking and weight training, helps to keep back muscles strong and prevent osteoporosis.
Proper body mechanics can prevent back injury and a host of problems. The rule is to use the quadriceps muscles at the front of the legs when lifting and hold the object close to the body so as not to strain the lower back. Also, use common sense. Do not attempt to lift something that is too heavy for you. Get help if necessary.
Correct posture when sitting and standing is important. Do not slouch, as this puts pressure on the lower back and neck. Sit with feet flat on the floor and knees slightly lower than your hips. The way you sleep can also contribute to back pain. If you sleep on your side, a pillow between the knees can help to maintain the natural curve of the spine. If you sleep on your back, a pillow below the knees is helpful. Moreover, do not discount the benefits of a firm mattress.
We will educate you in ways of preventing your back problems from recurring and/or train you to manage these problems and alleviate pain. Intervention will include the use of heat or cold, TENS and ultrasound as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. By following our guidance, you will be on your way to living a pain-free life.