Research has shown that 80 percent if adults (males or females) will experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes. Lower back pain is currently the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. It is extremely important to treat lower back pain at the onset in order to avoid aggravation and compounding the problem.
How Does the Lower Back Function?
The lower back, called the lumar region, is a complex structure of vertebrae, discs, spinal cord, nerves, ligaments and muscles. This region of the back supports much of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by intervertebral discs that act like shock sbsorbers thoughout the spinal column. Ligaments hold the vertebrae in place and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. Together, the ligaments and muscles provide support and stablilty to the lower back. Thirty-one pairs of nerves are rooted to the spinal cord which exit the vertebral column controlling body movements and transmitting signals from the body to the brain.
What Causes Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain symptoms vary greatly from person to person as a result of intricate and overlapping structures. Pain is commonly caused by disc degeneration, muscle strains, skeletal irregularities, ligament sprains, direct trauma, arthritis and pregnancy. The symptoms experienced can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Ironically, the severity of pain is ofen unrelated to the serverity of the damage.
The Importance of Exercise Therapy
The first step in effectively treating back pain is to identify the symptoms and the underlying cause of the pain. Untreated lower back pain can cause changes in posture, walking and functional activities that may in turn worsen the problem or cause new ones. Exercise is a key element of almost any lower back pain treatment plan. The exercises and stretches are best done though a controlled, progressive program, with the goal of establishing a stronger and more stable spine.