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LEARN HOW YOUR SPINE WORKS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS BOTHERING YOU…

Your spine is made up of a column of 33 bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked one on top of another like Lego bricks.

There are 7 cervical vertebrae in your neck, which includes one which links to your skull, 12 thoracic vertebrae in your chest, 5 lumber vertebrae in your mid/low back and 5 sacral vertebrae at the bottom of your back and finally 4 bones in your coccyx, which is the tail end of your back.

All these joined together are able to give you the ability to curve and flex your spine.

Attached to your vertebrae are your muscles and ligaments. Ligaments are tough fibres which help to keep everything in place. Nerves appear from gaps between each pair of bones which then supply your muscles and then carry sensations to your brain.

Major muscle groups also support and help to stabilise your spine, providing your spine with the ability to flex, extend, twist and bend sideways.

The lumber nerves have a bundle of nerve fibres known as the sciatic nerve, which supplies the legs and feet.

In between the bones are the discs which stop the spine from jarring acting like a cushion to enable you to move. These disc make up about a quarter of the height of the spine. They come in two parts, a jelly which is the centre piece for your discs and supports the weight, and a series of concentric rings which keep the jelly in place.

Behind your discs nerves pass through and behind this is what is called a facet joint, which allows your bones to move on another. All the bones are joined together by ligaments.

The more you learn about how your back works, the more you will understand when it’s bothering you.

Source: Polyclinic, London Norwich Spine

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SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN- WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT CAN BE TREATED…

If, like me you are a sufferer of SI joint pain then you will try a number of treatments to help alleviate it. The Very Well Health site explain what sacroiliac joint pain is. SI joints (there are two) are located on either side of your lower back between the sacrum—a triangle-shaped bone that sits beneath the lumbar spine and above the tailbone—and the pelvic bones. SI joints, like any other, can become irritated, dysfunctional (they move too much or not enough), or injured, all of which can lead to pain.

The symptoms of SI joint pain is pain, which can be sharp, stabbing, or dull and located in the lower back or the back of the hip area. Sometimes the pain is felt in the groin, thigh, below the knee, or in the buttocks. Movements or positions that stress the joint can worsen the pain, such as standing up from a sitting position, walking up stairs, turning in bed, or bending/twisting.

I have arthritis in both my SI joints and one side gives me a lot more pain than the other. My pain is both sharp when I lie on my side and stabbing and after a walk can be dull and is in my lower back and hip area. Last year they thought I was suffering from hip bursitis due to the referred pain I was having in my hips but the MRI scan showed it was the SI joints with arthritis.

The treatment I had was corticosteroid which was injected into the SI joint to provide longer-lasting relief. The relief was amazing and lasted a good three months and has slowly come back during the last month. I was told I could have these injections every four months so I am now waiting for a referral for another one. This does not always work for everyone but they say that this injection is  “gold standard” diagnostic test for SI joint dysfunction. If a person experiences at least a 75 percent improvement in pain, the test is considered “positive. So, at least you know what we are dealing with.

Other treatments which Healthline writes about include stretching the muscles around your SI joint as this can potentially help you loosen up tight areas. This may help relieve tension in your lower back and make it easier to move around with less pain and discomfort. They suggest that you try to set aside some time each day to stretch. Even doing a couple of stretches for a few minutes a day can go a long way. Here are 5 stretches and 2 gentle exercises you can do at home to help ease SI joint pain from Healthline.

Other treatments for SI joint pain which are explained on Pain Management site include, radiofrequency denervation  which can also be useful in the treatment of SI joints. This form of treatment uses heat to deactivate the nerves surrounding the painful joint, preventing it from sending pain signals. Treatment with a good physio therapist can also help correct posture and body movements, and provide advice on different sleeping positions. Over the counter medication can be used to treat painful symptoms and in more severe cases, prescription painkillers may be administered. Or, in some cases, where all the above treatment methods fail, then surgery may be considered as an option. SI joint fusion permanently fixes the sacrum to the ilium using metal implants.

Source: Very Well Health, Health Line, Pain Management

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DIARY – A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BACK PAIN SUFFERER AS WE HEAD INTO ANOTHER LOCKDOWN…

Check out my latest diary page on The Bad Back CompanyA Day in the Life of a Back Pain Sufferer as we Head into a New Year and another Lockdown…