In this article I will talk about the mechanics of spine and back pain. The spine is composed of vertebrae which is bone, discs which are a gel like material, ligaments, muscles and joints formed between them. All these structures function in unison to transmit forces, carry loads and protect the nervous system. All these structures have fine nerves and are pain sensitive. Therefore injury to any of these structures can lead to inflammation and back pain.
The human spine can be compared to the mast of a sailing vessel which holds the sail high and helps in moving the ship. Winds blow in all directions and pushes onto the sails. The ship masts are made of strong materials like steel and aluminium and are supported by Guy wires which are strong steel cables to add to their stability. If the masts are not strong, the force created by winds on the sails will break it and the ship won’t sail ahead. Therefore they are inspected regularly and are replaced if found withered. Human spine is also like a mast made of bones and flesh which is supported by guy wires made of muscles and ligaments. With time all the things in this world wear down and we humans are no different. Age leads to wear and tear in our spines and makes it weak. As humans perform daily routine activities a lot of forces act on our spine and breaks it down. When any of the components of spine gets injured it, manifests as back pain. Neglecting a chronic pain is not advisable because in the end too much wear and tear and too many forces can cause the spine to fail.
Definitely humans cannot replace the spine, yet, but by keeping the muscles strong and healthy the spine can be protected to serve us longer. This can be done by making a few personal rules. Rules are good not only for a society but also for individuals. The rules which you need to follow to keep your spine healthy are as follows:
- Stay slim, avoid overeating and try not to become overweight
- Do regular exercise, for both body and spine.
- Follow good posture etiquettes.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights. If necessary, use the help of others or use tools and machines.
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet to provide energy, essential nutrients and minerals to your body.
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Dr Nikhil Jain
FNB Spine Surgery, MS Orthopaedics
Consultant Spine Surgeon