A bit about the spine...
Without a healthy spine, everyday tasks, such as sitting up straight, bending over, picking up objects, walking, twisting and moving your neck, can become extremely difficult or painful. The inability to move normally, without pain, can really impact quality of life, so it’s important to care for your spine and to understand its role in your overall well-being.
The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae separated by discs. These can be divided into three main areas: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (mid-back) and the lumbar spine (lower-back). The discs help to keep your vertebrae together, act as shock absorbers, and allow your spine to move in multiple directions dynamically.
The spine performs three main functions:
- Protecting the spinal cord and associated nerve roots (the power supply to your entire body)
- Providing structural support and balance to maintain an upright posture
- Enabling flexible motion
What can go wrong?
If the spine isn’t working correctly, you can experience problems from head to toe including:
- Back pain - pain in the lower back is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine
- Headaches and migraines - caused by problems with the neck, such as poor posture, whiplash and muscle tension
- Neck pain - such as arthritis from wear and tear, joint sprains and muscle tightness
- Sciatica – irritation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet
- Whiplash - caused by the head being thrown back and forth, often a result of car accidents
What can cause problems with the spine?
There are several lifestyle factors that can impact the health of your spine:
- Physical inactivity – can cause weakening of the stabilising muscles around the spine, stiffness of the joints and shortening of muscles and ligaments limiting movement and causing pain
- Obesity – can put unnecessary strain on the body’s structures including the vertebrae, the discs and soft tissues
- Occupation – such as heavy lifting and adopting a poor sitting posture
As a result you may suffer from:
- Poor biomechanics of the spinal joints
- Poor mobility in the muscles around the spine
- Poor posture
- Muscle weakness or imbalance
Specialist treatment and prevention of back pain
The NICE Guidelines, based on the best available scientific evidence, promotes the use of manual therapy (mobilisation, manipulation, soft tissue techniques) and strengthening exercises for the treatment of back pain.
At The Medical, we specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of back pain:
- Diagnosis - X-rays and 3D Movement Scanners
- Treatment - manual therapy, such as manipulating the spine and massage, carried out by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths
- Strength and conditioning - Pilates and rehabilitation where you're taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture