Back Treatment at TLM
The Human Back
The human back refers to the section of the body that runs up from the top of the buttocks 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.
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:
Shoulder & Neck Pain
We offer orthotic treatment for all the above listed conditions as well as other back conditions. If you suspect you have a back problem, schedule an appointment with the centre to see how we can help you.
Common Back Conditions & Treatment
Slipped (Herniated) Disc Treatment
Each spinal disc has a soft jelly like core surrounded by a tough outer ring. Activities that places great stress on the back, like lifting bulky, heavy objects as well as those which involve big twisting motions can cause the this inner portion to slip out of position, creating a bulge in the outer ring that presses onto nearby nerves. In more severe cases, the outer ring might tear and some of the inner core might 'leak' out.
Slipped disc occurs when the disc that sits between two vertebrae moves out of position and presses onto surrounding nerves, causing pain and feeling of numbness. Pain and numbness from a slipped disc tends to radiate to the 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, which makes it 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.
Besides avoiding big motions, 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 orthotics treatment can help greatly in strengthening the back and preventing the condition from coming back.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine observed mostly in adolescents before puberty. The cause of scoliosis is unknown and onset often goes unnoticed. 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. Patients who have severe scoliosis tend to see the curvature of their spine continue to worsen. 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.
A C-curve scoliosis only curves in one direction, forming a C-shape.
A S-curve scoliosis curves in both directions. S-curve scoliosis are considered more severe.
While most practitioners are of the opinion that the curvature of the spine cannot be significantly reduced except through surgery, there is a 95% for curvature can be significantly reduced if patient has a cobb angle less than 40 degree and if orthotics treatment is undertaken with the centre before or during puberty.
Below is an example of a patient who has undergone successful scoliosis treatment. The X-rays 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.
Before the treatment, the spine is obviously curved towards the right.
By the end of the treatment, the curvature of the spine is barely visible.
Shoulder & Neck Pain Treatment
Using the computer and smartphone for long hours is the reason that comes to mind when we notice pain in our neck and shoulders. Indeed, constantly sitting in front of the computer in a fixed posture for an extended period of time and hunching over your phone can cause stiffness and pain in your 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 weakness in their legs often compensate for this weakness with their hips and shoulders. Because they are unable to move their leg forward using their leg muscles, they introduce a rotating motion in their hip to thrust their leg forward. Furthermore, they have to use their back muscles to lift their body and leg up in order to move it forward.
An orthotics treatment can help in such cases. A gait analysis can identify the cause of the poor gait and/or posture and an orthotic can be made to remedy it. Coupled with gait and posture training for the body to 'unlearn' all the poor habits that it picked up, the pain in the shoulders and neck will quickly go away.
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, a poor posture develop because of problems with the feet which are akin to the foundation of the body. Therefore, it is crucial that you wear shoes which provide adequate cushioning and support so poor postures do not develop.
If you are suffering from back pain and are looking for a simple and effective solution to your knee problems, contact the centre to schedule an appointment right away!