Back pain …..What is it?

Low back pain (LBP) is a common disorder that can involve the muscles, nerves, and bones of the back. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling.

Who gets back pain?

80% of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, however 60% of people find their back pain rapidly improves within the first month. Back pain is the most common musculoskeletal disorder that people experience.

Some facts and figures about back pain:

  • In the UK, 2.5 million people have back pain every day
  • 1 in 15 of the population will consult their GP about their back pain
  • Very few sufferers will need surgery
  • It is estimated that 60-75% of all back pain is Non Specific Low Back Pain

What is Non Specific Low Back Pain?

Pain or discomfort experienced between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the legs. In most cases, it is not due to a serious disease or serious back problem, and the exact cause of the pain is not clear. Several structures may contribute to the symptoms. The advice is to keep active and continue with your normal activities as much as possible to help reduce these symptoms.

Anatomy of the spine

The spine is made up of 5 areas – the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid back), lumbar spine (lower back), sacrum (attached to the pelvic bones) and the coccyx (tail bone). Each individual bone in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine is called a vertebra. In between each of the vertebrae are spinal discs.

The vertebrae and discs are connected and supported by lots of ligaments and muscles. The main functions of the spine are to protect the spinal cord, provide support and stability to the rest of the body and to allow movement.

There are many potential sources of back pain including:

  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Discs
  • Bone – arthritis, osteoporosis
  • Nerves – Spinal stenosis, nerve root pain

Click here to view video exercises for back pain.