Last week, there was news about former Thai leader had experienced severe low back pain during work. The symptom was very serious and needed immediate treatment in medical school. The doctor ruled out a lumbar strain and given treatment as out-patient. Later, his symptom had totally improved and did not need hospitalization. I; therefore, would like to increase an understanding of back pain in Thai people, especially my fan page readers because their age group has a greater risk of low back pain.

“Back Pain” Is Not a Specific Disease

Low back pain is not a specific disease. Many people had ever seen or heard the word “low back pain disease”. I truly confirm to all readers that “low back pain” is not a disease; rather it is a universal human experience – almost everyone has it at some point in their lives. This symptom is more common among human (bipedal primates). No wonder that veterinarian may not have ever seen back pain problem in pets. This article will focus on low back pain only, not included shoulder blade pain or others.

Understanding Lower Back Anatomy

The central feature of human back is the vertebral column, rising from the buttocks to the back of the neck and neck. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. An intervertebral disc lies between adjacent vertebrae in the vertebral column plays an important role in transmitting compression. Healthy intervertebral discs are like a wet sponge – they are thick, flexible, and mostly composed of water.

The vertebral column, also known as the spinal column, provides attachments to muscles which run vertically in two rows along the back. Thickness of spinae muscles varies in each individual person. These muscles can be strengthened. They are very flexible for supporting human daily activities including bending down, lifting things, twisting body, standing up, sitting on the chair, or squatting. These common activities always involve with spinae muscles. Some people may not believe that sitting typically puts stress on the intervertebral disc and muscles in your back more than standing or walking.

Low back pain (LBP) is a common health problem among people aged over 35 – 40 years. The causes of pain (low back pain) are any disorder of the followings: Muscle strain: Muscle around elbow area may sprain because of poor body mechanics while lifting heavy objects, bad working posture, or rounded-back position. These activities may cause overstretching of elbow or injury of ligament fibers. Some people may ever experience back pain, muscle tension and strain, namely stiff back or tight back. This symptom basically makes you move like a robot because your back is sprained, unable to bending down, and severe pain. This usually occurs with people with low muscle flexibility or lack of low back muscle stretching. Once these people have irregular movement, they are at higher risk of back injury.

A disorder in the kidney: It can also cause back pain. Humans have two kidneys that are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space. Each kidney is attached to a ureter, a tube that carries excreted urine to the bladder. A malfunction of kidney and ureter such as kidney stone may cause back pain. Some people may have some blood in urine, trouble urinating, stone blocks the flow of urine and sharp pain.

Abnormality of the lumbar spine: Herniated disc is more common in the lower back (lumbar spine). It occurs when the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. As a result, it can cause chronic pain in the legs and feet. In case of disc or spinal degeneration, it may cause pain in your buttocks, hip, and upper thighs. Moreover, tuberculosis of the spine (Spinal TB) can cause destruction of the intervertebral disc space and collapse of spinal elements which may result of your back pain. This problem is a common disease in Thailand.

Common symptoms of back pain

From age 20, nearly everyone’s “spinal discs” show signs of wear as they age. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers. The back muscles always work without stopping, day and night. If your mattress is too soft, it may cause your back muscles into wrong position and increase risk of stiff and sore lower back. The back muscles are responsible for all daily movements include waking up, pulling yourself off the mattress, brushing your teeth, getting dress, standing, sitting, twisting, exercising, and playing sports. A plum man or a person with weak abdominal muscles is more susceptible to back injury, muscle inflammation, or myofascial pain syndrome because the back muscles are overused. This also cause of severe pain.

How to prevent back pain (from myofascial pain syndrome)?

To understand the solution (myofascial release), you have to first understand the problem (myofacial pain syndrome). Anyone has a risk of myofacial pain syndrome which is resulted from disc degeneration. The back muscles are responsible for all routine movements so they are prone to injury easily. Therefore, you should avoid sleeping on the wrong mattress. To relieve a risk of back pain, you should learn of the right postures for lying down, getting up, brushing teeth, bending over, putting on shoes, lifting things, sitting in the car for a long time, and sitting for work. The ergonomic chair can also promote the correct posture. These are common knowledge that you should understand and apply to your life for reducing problems of myofacial pain syndrome. Moreover, some simple workout such as sitting up and back exercise can also strengthen muscles and prevent injury. Good bye!