The Human Back
The human back refers to the section of the body that runs up from the top of the hip to the back of the neck and stretches across the shoulders at the top and the pelvis at the bottom. Running straight down the center is the spine, also known as the vertebrae column.
Back Treatment at TLM
The spine, rib cage and shoulder blades (scapula) make up the skeletal structure of the back. it is supported by over 200 muscles, categorized into three groups based on how close they are to the surface of the back. Of these 200 muscles, 120 support the spine.
The spine is made up of pieces of bones called vertebrae. We typically have 33 vertebrae, 24 of which factors in discussions of back pain because they can move (the 9 bottom most vertebrae are fused to form the sacrum and coccyx during childhood). The 24 vertebrae are categorized into 3 groups, 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, 12 thoracic (chest) vertebrae and 5 lumbar (lower back) vertebrae.
Take Immediate Action
Back pain is the second most common type of pain reported in adults after headaches. Lower back pain and neck pain are more common as these sections of the spine move more than the middle section.
If you have been experiencing constant or recurring back pain over a prolonged period of time, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. This is especially so if you can observe visible deformities. Common ailments of the back include:
TLM offers orthotic treatments for the above listed conditions as well as other musculoskeletal conditions that cause back pain or deformities. If you suspect you have a back problem, schedule an appointment with the centre to see how we can help you.
Common Back Conditions & Treatments
Slipped (Herniated) Disc Treatment
Between the vertebrae columns are spinal disc which cushions the vertebrae. Each spinal disc has a soft jelly like core surrounded by a tough outer ring. Slipped disc occurs when this inner core slips out of position, creates a bulge in the outer ring that presses onto nearby nerves. This can be caused by activities that places great stress on the back, like lifting bulky, heavy objects as well as those involving big twisting motions. In more severe cases, the outer ring might tear and some of the inner core might 'leak' out.
Symptoms of slipped disc includes pain and feeling of numbness in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs — depending on which section of the spine the slipped disc is located — unlike muscle aches which are localized.
Older people are at higher risk of suffering a slipped disc. As the toughness of the outer layer diminishes with age, it becomes weaker and less able to keep its shape to hold the inner core in place and more likely to tear.
A healthy disc as seen from the top.
A slipped disc as seen from the top. A slipped disc cause pain as the inner core presses onto the nerve root.
Those who have had episodes of slipped disc can have their posture and gait checked by an orthotist to see if poor posture is pressing vertebrae together and placing extra stress on the spine. If poor posture is indeed the problem, an orthotic treatment can help greatly in correcting poor posture, strengthening the back and preventing the condition from coming back.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine observed mostly in adolescents before puberty. Most cases of scoliosis — except the most severe — are managed with conservative treatments to prevent the curve from getting worse.
While mild scoliosis do not cause significant disruption to daily life, severe scoliosis can be disabling. Scoliosis tends to worsen over time. As the condition progresses, the spine starts to rotate and twist, in addition to curving side by side. This will cause one side of the body to stick out and a hunch to develop.
While most practitioners believes that the spinal curvature cannot be significantly reduced except through surgery, scoliosis with a cobb angle less than 40 degrees can be treated by TLM with 90% chance of recovery if orthotic treatment is undertaken before or during puberty.
Below is an example of a patient who has undergone successful scoliosis treatment. The X-ray images show the before and after picture of a 13 year old scoliosis patient with cobb angle of 38 degree. She grew from 1.62m to 1.71m during 14 months of treatment and saw the curvature of her spine significantly reduced.
A C-curve scoliosis only curves in one direction, forming a C-shape.
The spine is curved before treatment.
A S-curve scoliosis curves in both directions. S-curve scoliosis are considered more severe.
Curvature of the spine is barely visible at the end of the treatment.
Shoulder & Neck Pain Remedy
Constantly sitting in front of the computer in a fixed posture or hunching over when using the phone are some of the reasons that comes to mind when noticing pain in our neck and shoulders.
However, there is an often overlooked cause that you should pay attention to; your gait i.e. the way you walk. This is because a poor gait can place stress on your hips and shoulders over time. For example, those who feel weak in their legs often activate hip and shoulder muscles to assist them in walking. Since they are unable to move the legs forward, they introduce a rotating motion to thrust the leg forward. For every step taken, they have to use back muscles to lift the body and leg up. This walking posture increases stress in the hip and shoulder muscles, which leads to lower back pain, shoulder and/or neck pain.
Orthotic treatments can be used to treat such cases. Firstly, an examination and gait analysis will identifies the cause of shoulder and/or neck pain. Orthotics will then be prescribed to treat the poor gait and/or posture based on the diagnosis. Coupled with gait and posture training, the body will 'unlearn' all the poor habits that it picked up. Pain in the shoulders and neck will be relieved thereafter.
A poor walking posture with excessive hip rotation will quickly cause lower back pain.
Over time, as the hips are unable to take all the extra stress, the shoulders will be roped in to help lift the legs up, causing pain in the shoulders and neck.
As you can see from the examples above, many back conditions are caused by poor postures. Most often, poor posture develops because of problems with the feet which are akin to the foundation of the body. Therefore, it is crucial to wear fitting shoes with correct support to treat or prevent poor postures from developing. If you have a hard time finding a pair of fitting shoes or your condition does not improve even when you are wearing a pair of fitting shoes, it is time to seek professional help.
If you are suffering from back pain and are looking for a non-invasive and effective solution to your back problems, contact TLM to schedule an appointment right away!