The human back : how to take care of it

Have you ever stopped to wonder what sets humans apart from most other creatures? Of course, you will say it is the human brain and the way it functions.

But, at the physical and structural level, it is equally the human vertebral column that helps mankind to literally stand "upright and proud" over most other creatures. This vertebral column is made up of a chain of small bones -- called vertebrae (back bones) -- which fully encircle and thereby protect the vital spinal cord. The vertebrae are supported by bands of muscles, which give it strength and flexibility. All these components taken together form the Human Back, which is in the posterior part of our body running from the nape of the of the neck right down to the lower level of he hip.

Unknown and invisible to us, day in and day out, from birth to death, this part of our skeleton supports and protects our most important body parts. It supports the head at the the level of the neckAnd through out its entire length -- it protects the spinal cord.

Ironically, there are many ailments that can afflict the back, thereby turning the supporter and protector of the body into a source of illness, pain and worry.

Back Pain can afflict people of any age, starting with a short minor pain to a chronic pain spread over the course of a lifetime.

In children, the causes of back pain may are the carrying of heavy bags, incorrect sitting posture, lying down while reading or watching television, accidents while playing and a sedentary lifestyle.

In ladies, the common causes may be related to menopausal problems, osteoporosis, malnutrition, night discharge, anemia, calcium & Vitamin D deficiency and problems related to pregnancy and post-pregnancy periods.

In men, the causes may range from riding of vehicles for prolonged periods of time, workplace-related postural problems, incorrect development of the body, excessive lifting of weights etc.

Backpain can also be a result of other ailments like common-cold, tetanus, typhoid, malaria, osto-arthritis, Bone TB etc. In the current sedentary lifestyle practised by so many "busy" people, mental stress and anxiety an additional factors leading to back pain.

At present, 80-90% of back pain cases are said to be a result of psycho-somatic disorders. Excessive stress can cause pain swelling or stiffness in the ligaments and tendons of the back.

The pain of the back may radiate down the body to the hip, thigh, knees and even till the toes. The pain can manifest itself in the joints of the legs while bending, sneezing, coughing, climbing steps,etc. This can cause numbness and lead to reduced sensation in the limbs. The pain may be alleviated to a certain extent by rest.

Lumbar spondylitis, disc prolapse, fracture in the lower back vertebrae, excessive usage of lower back muscles and ligament tear may also lead to back pain.

Therefore, back pain must never be ignored and must be referred to a doctor. If indicated further investigations by x-ray, CT scan or MRI scan can be done.

Hot fomentation, back massage, infra-red light application, hot-mud pack, PANCHAKARMA, physiotherapy, YOGASANAS, PRANAYAMA and meditation can work wonders in healing the back.

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