Back and Neck Pain
The spine is comprised of bones called vertebrae. These are separated by discs comprised of softer material which allow movement of the spine. Anatomically the spine is divided into the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), sacrum and coccyx (tail bone). Each of these areas allows different types of movements and can present with different dysfunctions as a result. Back and neck pain is very common and can cause significant reduction in activity and discomfort. There are many causes of spinal pain and most are not serious and easily manageable with the right advice.
Lower Back Pain
For lower the old fashioned advice used to be to rest in bed until the pain subsided. However this has been proven to cause further problems and research shows that appropriate activity reduces the length of time the pain remains. Initially 1-2 days rest may be necessary and painkillers, heat and gentle exercise can ease symptoms.
Our advice is to get back to normal activity as soon as you are able.
Physiotherapists can treat painful, stiff joints and muscles, wear and tear in discs and sciatica to speed recovery and reduce reliance on painkillers. They can also provide a guided exercise programme to allow self management of the problem and future care of your back.
Neck pain can give similar symptoms but tends to be less disabling than back pain. The neck (cervical spine) is the most mobile part of the spine and therefore can come under strain regularly as a result of sitting posture, whiplash injury etc. It can also become painful as a result of cervical spondylosis which is a vey common complaint particularly with increasing age.
Again regular movements of the neck are advised to prevent further stiffness developing and prolonging symptoms.
Good posture when using computers and driving is advisable to reduce neck strain. As with lower back pain, physiotherapists can treat the cause of the pain – usually joint stiffness, soft tissue tightness and / or nerve impingement to speed healing and alleviate symptoms.