Anatomy of the back and spine
The spine consists of 24 bones (vertebrae) plus the sacrum and coccyx. In between these small bones is a disc that absorbs shock during movement, allows your spine to flex, and prevents friction.
Down the centre of your spine lies the spinal cord. This delicate structure carries nerves from the brain to the rest of the body. Your back also has 40 muscles and 5 ligaments, some of which are attached to the spine itself.
What causes Back and Spine pain?
The cause of back pain may be due to:
- Muscle injury
- Structural changes caused by arthritis or spondylolisthesis
- Disc prolapse
- Nerve problems such as sciatica
- Degenerative disc disease
- Poor posture
How to look after your back
Taking care of your back can reduce the risk of developing injuries or making pain worse. You can do this by taking regular exercise with proper form, working your core, focusing on optimal posture, moving your body correctly, and investing in a decent office chair or a lumbar roll.
What can be done to help back and spine pain?
Thankfully, there are several ways to help back and spine pain, including surgery, medication, heat, TENS machines, and targeted exercises.
When you suffer from back and spine pain, you should first consult your GP or Pharmacist who will be able to offer advice and suggest medication or refer you to a specialist.
Physiotherapy is often encouraged as a first step to help improve movement patterns, strengthen weak muscles, and reduce pain. If physiotherapy does not solve the back and spine pain or address the cause, then surgery or injections may be necessary.
What injections are available for back and spine pain?
Injections are available to help with back and spine pain and diagnose conditions.
For example, steroid injections help with joint and soft tissue disorders by easing pain and reducing inflammation. Other injections may help doctors diagnose and treat conditions.
Injection treatments at One Health Group include:
- Sacroiliac joint injection
- Epidural steroid
- Nerve root block
- Medial branch block
What surgery is possible to help back and spine pain?
Surgery isn’t necessary for all back and spine pain. However, for some conditions it is the best course of treatment.
One Health has a team of specialist Spinal Surgeons who work closely with Physiotherapists and healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of back issues.
Surgeries at One Health Group include:
- Lumbar Nerve Root Decompression for Foraminal Stenosis
- Spinal Decompression
- Posterior Cervical Decompression (Microdiscectomy)
- Instrumented Lumbar Fusion
- Dynesys Stabilisation
- Cervical Laminectomy
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion
You can find out more about these surgeries and what’s involved by visiting our Treatments section.
Is back pain serious?
There are some red flags to watch out for that could indicate something serious linked to back pain. If you have the following symptoms accompanying back pain, consult your GP or 111:
- a swelling or a deformity in your back
- Pain so bad that you have trouble sleeping
- The pain is at the top of your back, between your shoulders
- Pain that spreads up the spine
- Numbness or weakness in one or both legs, or around buttocks
- Pain down the legs and below the knees