According to Clinical Anatomist,the back undergoes natural degenerative changes throughout life. As a result, it’s common for us to experience back injuries. Owing to the fact that the vertebral column is the structural base of the back, the vertebrae and their supporting tissues both absorb and resist most of the mechanical forces that are placed on the back; for this reason they are vulnerable to a variety of injuries which can sometimes lead to severe back problems.
Within the Spine (vertebral column) is a spinal canal that houses both the spinal nerves and a small opening(the intervertebral formina) where the nerves enter and exit the spine. The nerves in this intervertebral formina of the spine supply the structures of the limbs and trunk of our body. Due to the location of the nerves, injury or dysfunction of the vertebral column commonly involves components of the nervous system.
The upper or cervical region supports the skull and allows a lot of movement so that the head can be mobile. However, excessive motion commonly speeds up the degenerative process which can accelerate the development of dysfunctions plus back and neck pain. The motion of the vertebral column is very limited overall, and represents the sum total of the motion that can occur between adjacent vertebrae.
The amount of motion depends on the thickness of the intervertebral disk interconnecting the vertebrae, and the presence of structures, such as rib cage. Most motion occurs in the cervical and lumbar regions, but rib cage limits motion between thoracic vertebrae. Therefore, back pain problems and degeneration tend to be less in the thoracic region.
Lower Lumbar Vertebrae
This portion of the spine accommodates large mechanical stress and allows some motion. The magnitude of these forces dramatically increases in certain postures and thus speeds up degeneration. In addition, particularly in the lumbar region, the bipedal posture(“walking on two feet”) of human places excessive stresses on the vertebrae and their supports causing back pain. In this region it is also common for one to experience pain caused by an herniated disc.
According to Clinicains, Reflex Postural changes(reflexes which respond to changes of position of the body or head) commonly accompany spinal nerve compression in the lumbar region. Typically, back stretching such as spinal flexion and side bending away from the side of the compression, are thought to increase the size of the intervertebral foramen(opening where the nerves enter and exit spine) and thus remove pressure from the nerve.