Hardly none of us has escaped occasional back pain. For some it’s the sharp pain of a sudden injury; for others it’s a dull nagging ache that seems to never go away. Injury, misuse and the aging process can lead to spinal problems that cause pain, stiffness, tingling or numbness in your back.
Your Spine – It starts with an “S” to understand what causes spinal problems, you must understand how your spine works. The bones of your spine, called vertebrae, are separated by small shock-absorbing discs. Rather than forming a straight column, they form three curves balanced one above the other. Muscles in your back, abdomen and legs help keep your spine in its natural S-shape. This position distributes your body weight evenly to protect your vertebrae and discs from injury and wear.
Improper posture – such as slouching with your shoulders slumped and your head forward or standing in a swaybacked position puts stress on your spine and causes the vertebrae and discs to move out of the balanced position. Too much forward bending and excessive backward bending can speed the aging process of your vertebrae and discs, leading to ruptured disc, arthritis and instability.
- Your discs have a soft center called the nucleus, surrounded by a series of tough outer rings called the annulus.
- Over time, your discs lose moisture and elasticity, so it’s harder for them to bounce back into place.
- Discs can’t really “slip,” but swelling or years of poor posture can leave them sticking out from between the vertebrae. The vertebrae squeeze the bulging disc and cause pain.
- A bulging disc can become a ruptured or herniated disc. As pressure on the disc builds, the nucleus can tear the annulus and squeeze out and put pressure on the spinal nerve.
Protect you back from premature wear and tear by using correct posture and learning how to prevent back injuries.
Break bad habits such as slouching and bending over your desk or workspace.
Avoid carrying loads that cause you to lean back into a swayback position.