Back Pain

Statistics show that 2 in 3 of us have back pain at any one time and 80% of us will experience back pain during our lifetime. Most back pain is caused by a disc problem.


The spine consists of 24 bones called vertebrae which sit on top of one another to form a column. Each vertebra has a cylindrical body in front with a wishbone-like structure sticking out behind forming the knobbly bits that can be felt down the backbone. Cradled within the arms of the wishbone is the spinal cord which carries nerve messages up and down from the brain to all parts of the body. In between the cylindrical bodies of the vertebrae are the discs. These are jelly like structures which act as shock absorbers protecting the brain from the vibration of every foot fall.


When the disc bulges backwards it presses on the nerve behind it as it emerges from the spinal cord. The pressure of the disc causes inflammation and pain. Most back problems occur because the spine is put into such a position that the back of the joint opens up and allows the disc to bulge backwards. The reason a disc moves out of place can be due to any number of things – the way we stand, bend, sit, lift or do exercises. It is most commonly due to bending forward, often with a twisting movement, or lifting awkwardly.


Stooping in the shower to pick up the soap, lifting a child out of a cot or car seat, or the shopping out of the boot have all been known to cause trouble. Prolonged stooping such as putting flowers in the garden or collapsing in a heap on the sofa afterwards all put the back in a bad position. Carrying heavy shopping awkwardly all in one hand can also cause problems.