Hello, and welcome to Back on Track, your guide to lower back health. I'm your host, Ty Paulson. Today we’re going to explore strategies for maintaining a healthy lower back, including strengthening techniques, and tips for preventing lower back pain.
Now, did you know that back pain is the fifth most common reason why people in the U.S. seek medical care, and that almost everyone will experience some degree of lower back pain before they're 50 years old? Now, the good news is that back pain will usually go away on its own in just a few days, and most back pain is NOT due to any serious illness. Occasionally back pain can last longer, but that’s fairly unusual.
Back pain that lasts for 12 weeks or less is called “acute” back pain, while back pain lasting longer than 12 weeks is considered “chronic.” Fortunately, chronic back pain is not very common. In the event that you do have chronic back pain or a serious injury, specialty care is available. Your physician can help you identify the appropriate specialty care providers and refer you for treatment.
Your back is designed for movement, and the more you move, the better you feel. So it makes sense that if you have a backache, the sooner you get moving and get back to your regular activities, the sooner you’ll feel better.
To find out more about lower back pain, I’ve asked Dr. O’Connor to join us. Welcome to Back on Track!
Dr. O’Connor, thank you for being here.
It's my pleasure, Ty. I’m always happy when I have the chance to help people understand the importance of taking care of their back. You know, chances are that most of us will experience back pain at some point, and that we’ll return to normal quickly if we stay active.
Makes sense. Dr. O’Connor, before we go any further, can you take a moment to tell us about the structure of the back?
Absolutely, Ty. You know, your back is one of the strongest parts of your body with an incredible design. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the back.
Your back is an amazing part of your body made up of bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons. Your spine begins at your neck and runs down to your tailbone. Blocks of bone, called vertebrae, are stacked together to support your weight and protect your spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are the intervertebral discs. These discs are tough, flexible shock absorbers that cushion the vertebrae.
Strong bands of tissue known as ligaments and tendons help to hold the bones of your spine in place and attach the large muscles of your back to the bones. So, all together, when these parts work in harmony, your back is strong and able to move and bend without difficulty. Most of the motion in your back happens in your lower back. This part of your back, where back pain commonly occurs, supports the weight of your body and allows you to move.