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Lost Days of Work Due to Back Pain

Nearly all of us will be affected with back pain of some kind within our lifetime but what impact does this have on our lives and the world around us?

Back pain and the impact on our lives

Back pain can play a major part in people's lives; the pain they feel can seriously affect what they do on a day-to-day basis.

 

Back pain we just hate it

The back functions in nearly every move you make, this is what makes back pain so uncomfortable. Nearly everyone will suffer at least one attack of back pain in his or her lifetime, because of this it is important that people have knowledge about the possible back conditions there are.

Your back is full of muscles, ligaments and bones, which supports your upper body. If you lift heavy items or make sudden, awkward movements you are likely to sprain a muscle in your back that can be very painful. The area of the back which is most likely to cause a problem is the lower back, which carries a lot more pressure and is a lot less sturdy than the upper back.

Spraining a muscle or ligament requires rest and pain relief medication; your body will repair itself over time, although this can take weeks rather than days.

There are more serious conditions that can cause back pain, like the following

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal due to bone overgrowth or arthritis; this can press on a nerve causing a lot of pain. If it is not found early enough it could eventually affect the spinal cord itself causing more dangerous problems.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebrae slips forward over another one causing considerable pain. It can be dangerous for the vertebrae to slip forward because it can cause problems with the spinal cord and reduce the strength of the back.

Sciatica

Sciatica is caused from a herniated disc pressing on the sciatic nerve causing shooting pains through the buttocks to one or both of the legs. This condition doesn’t always give constant pain as it depends on the reason why the nerve has become pressured.

Trauma

Should a person suffer an accident that causes trauma to the back, it may damage the muscles, ligaments or spinal column, which can cause excruciating pain. With trauma the damage can vary quite dramatically, because of this so does the treatments involved.

There are more rare and dangerous back conditions; these conditions carry more specific treatment.

Cancer of the spine

Cancer in the spine produces a tumor that can press on nerves around the spinal canal causing considerable pain. Because cancer is debilitating on it’s own it can cause considerable problems for the sufferer.

Spine infection

If a spine becomes infected then back pain and warmth in the infected area will occur. Infection, depending on the type can easily be remedied.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes pain in the back, weakness in the legs and loss of bowel and bladder control. As Cauda Equina Syndrome is a neurological condition rather than a physical problem it takes different treatments to alleviate than the other conditions.

The treatments available are very effective at combating back problems but the treatments for more dangerous conditions are not guaranteed to work because if they are not found in time, they may be in a more progressive form, rendering treatment ineffective.

Many people with back pain find it difficult to work, drive or even carry out simple daily chores because the problem with back pain is that it can be very intense and in some circumstances the pain can increase just by breathing, with basic movements becoming unbearable.

Back pain also affects close friends and family as it also stops sufferers from being able to enjoy daily and weekly nights out or nights in with a loved one, some sufferers find it so painful that they are bedridden and feel like they cannot move at all.

A lot of back pain sufferers can end up with emotional problems too, like stress and depression as they feel the affects on their bodies, growing debt and the prospect of becoming dependant on others for basic necessities we take for granted.

Up to thirty percent of people in the United Kingdom say that their working environment is the reason for their back pain due to bad posture or manual lifting that is carried out in the work place. If you think this figure is high, you may be surprised to learn that this is the average figure with the European Union. Some countries have figures that are higher than this, like Greece who has a figure of forty percent and Germany who’s figure sits at thirty seven percent.

Back pain and the world around us

Back pain is the second most used reason for time off work behind the common cold, with an estimate of nearly 5 million days lost a year in the United Kingdom alone. This figure equates to an average of eleven days per off per person a year.

Did you know that the cost of back pain to employers on a yearly basis has been roughly estimated at three hundred million pounds ($565 million) in the United Kingdom?

Governments across Europe and around the world have created health and safety departments to assess the risks of back pain in every type of profession, and have created assessments and rules for companies to follow to alleviate the risks involved. By managing the risks government agencies hope to save a lot of people the possibility of back pain and save companies a lot of financial burden from lost days.

Back pain not only affects us physically it impacts on the world around us emotionally and financially.

A lot of work needs to be put into managing the risks of back pain so the possibilities of becoming one of the statistics who suffer with back pain are less likely and workers can be safe in the knowledge that every possibly thought is going into their working environment.

 

Understanding the human back

The central nervous system and the surrounding muscles and tendons that allow us to perform our everyday activities are truly amazing. The human back ranges from the top of the buttocks to the back of the neck. Many people across the world suffer problems with back pain, and complaints about back pain are one of the most commonly occurring reasons that people take visits to the doctor’s office. In this article, we’ll help to explain how the human back works so that you can better understand what to do should a problem with back pain occur.

The vertebrae are a series of bones that protect the spinal cord from any damage. There are four different types of vertebrae in the back, and they were named according to their locations within the body. The vertebrae that are located within the neck and head are known as cervical vertebrae. There are seven cervical vertebrae within the human body, and they are connected to the thoracic vertebrae. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae which exist underneath the cervical vertebrae and make up much of your upper back. Underneath the thoracic vertebrae are the lumbar vertebrae. There are only 5 lumbar vertebrae, and they make up the base of the lower back. Below the lumbar vertebrae are the sacral vertebrae. Much different than the other vertebrae, the sacral vertebrae are actually fused together. There are five of these vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are soft discs which contain padding and nerves. There are also several muscles present within the back which help it to move.

The most common reason that someone is experiencing back pain is a muscle strain. The muscles of the back help us to create motion and give the spinal cord some flexibility, and when they are strained, intense pain can occur. This can occur in many situations, including car accidents, falls, and heavy lifting. Luckily, muscle strains usually heal without treatment within a period of roughly two weeks.

Another common source of back pain is known as a disc herniation. This problem occurs when one of the discs that are located between the vertebrae tears, allowing some of its soft insides to protrude outside of the disc. The problem is usually caused by wear and tear on the disc that occurs over time, or an instance of heavy lifting or pivoting that causes the disc to rupture. This problem can occur within any disc that is located within the spine, but more often than not, it occurs between cervical vertebrae or lumbar vertebrae, with lumbar disc herniations being the most common. The problem causes back pain and sometimes pain or numbness within the legs, which is known as sciatica.

Now that you know more about the way that the human back works, you can better be able to tell the doctor what you think you may be experiencing. Muscle strains and disc herniations are two of the most commonly occurring back problems, which is important to remember should you experience back pain.