#treatment - Spine
Low back pain is very common, costing millions of pounds a year to the country in lost work, as well as millions of pounds in medical resources every year. Most back pain does not signify any serious underlying problem, and will sort itself out within a few days to a few weeks.
Low back pain is pain affecting the lower part of the back. It is described as:
- Acute if it has lasted less than 6 weeks
- Sub-acute if it has lasted 6-12 weeks
- Chronic if it has lasted more than 12 weeks.
People who have a back problem often talk about having a ‘slipped disc’. However, major disc problems are not actually too common.When they do occur, it is normal because the disc has torn and ‘prolapsed’ or ‘herniated’, so that it presses against sensitive nerves from the spinal cord.
Sciatica is the name given to pains running down the back of the leg because nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve have been compressed or irritated – either by a disc prolapse, from extra bone caused by arthritis, or due to a combination of the two.
Spine movement is made possible by joints between the vertebrae consisting of two flat faces or ‘facets’ on the bone. If these degenerate, the two halves of the joint grate painfully against each other.
This condition, also known as osteoarthrosis, is a long-term degeneration of the joints, which makes them less able to withstand stress. It’s a wear-and-tear problem that affects most of us as we get older and which can give rise to pain in some cases.
There are many inflammatory diseases (e.g. ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis) that cause joints to become inflamed and seize up. These diseases can either directly affect the joints in the back, or cause problems with other joints that lead to pain in the back.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak so that they fracture easily. The bones of the back and neck are often affected and can become compressed. This is particularly common in women who are post-menopause and can be influenced by diet and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).