The spine is designed to protect the spinal cord (the bundle of nerves that runs down the center of the vertebrae), act as an attachment for muscles and tendons to act upon, support the ribs which protect our vital organs, and support our body weight.
Comprised of 26 bones: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, and 5 lumbar vertebrae, as well as the sacrum and coccyx. Between the vertebrae are discs which are fluid-filled structures that act as shock absorbers. They function much as a water balloon when pressure is exerted upon it, with the fluid moving in the direction opposite of the motion.
All these structures move in concert with one another when the spine is in good alignment. Ligaments are the primary stabilizers, muscles and tendons are movers and secondary stabilizers, and the intervertebral discs cushion these movements and aid in their proper function.
There are four curves that occur naturally in the spine: 2 forward curves called cervical and lumbar curves and 2 backward curves called thoracic and sacral curves.
Back injuries are typically muscular and are usually due to weak core muscles or from lifting an object from an unusual position, which causes twisting and straining of the back muscles. Sometimes, back injuries are more dramatic, involving injuries to the disc or the ring around the disc called the annulus. Also, injuries can cause disc rupture or nerve impingement in the back.
At The Stone Clinic, each of these injuries are treated immediately with physical therapy in order to diminish back stiffness, improve recruitment of other muscles, and diminish muscle spasms and pain. Techniques have been developed at The Stone Clinic that can mobilize back injuries quite rapidly. Our team believes early motion and stretching can be performed. The injured muscles are balanced against uninjured muscles that counter force and engagement, which can often stop back spasm earlier than if just rest is used. The Clinic is aggressive in using ice and anti-inflammatory medications as necessary in order to stop the immediate muscle spasm and pain, as well as cross training using swimming, careful weight training, Pilates, yoga, and other back exercises in order to retrain the back and core muscles to diminish the recurrence of back injuries.