The back is a robust structure, made up of strong bones and powerful muscles. In childhood, it is normal that back pain is not due to a disease of the spine, but rather to a malfunction of the back muscles and the influence of certain risk factors.
The best way to avoid and treat back pain is to exercise and be physically active., comply with the rules of postural hygiene, avoid bed rest and have a positive mental attitude towards pain. We explain when to go to the doctor for childhood back pain.
The back serves to support the body and allow it to move, to help keep the center of gravity stable, both at rest and especially in motion, and to protect the spinal cord in a sheath of bone.
1. To be able to support the weight of the body, the back has to be solid. It is made up of very strong bones and powerful muscles.
2. To allow movement, the spine has to be flexible. Therefore, it is not composed of a large bone, but of 33 separate vertebrae, arranged one on top of the other and supported by a system of muscles and ligaments.
3. To help keep the center of gravity stable, the contraction of the back muscles acts as a counterweight that compensates the movements of the rest of the body. To do this, the muscles have to be powerful.
4. To protect the spinal cord, the vertebrae have a special shape with a hole in their center through which the cord runs.
It is made up of 33 vertebrae. The 7 cervical, 12 dorsal and 5 lumbar are separated by the corresponding 23 intervertebral discs. The 5 sacral are fused, like the 4 coccygeas, forming the sacrum and coccyx bones. When viewed from the front, the vertebrae are perfectly aligned and form a vertical. However, in profile, they form curves. The upper one is in the cervical area and the lower one is located in the lumbar area and they are concave backwards and are called cervical and lumbar lordosis respectively. The middle curve is concave forward and is called dorsal kyphosis. This arrangement allows the column to be very resistant to the load applied in the vertical direction, since its curvatures give it flexibility. If the load is very important, the curvatures may increase temporarily, cushioning the pressure on the vertebrae. For this reason, in some countries it was traditional to carry the load on the head. In addition, doing so kept the center of gravity in the axis of the spine, so that the back muscles hardly had to work.
Although it is not always necessary to consult a doctor when the back hurts, in some cases it is essential and in a few, urgent:
- The pain has already been previously assessed by a doctor, and the characteristics and location of the new episode are the same.
- The pain is bearable, relieved with pain relievers that can be bought without a prescription, improves in less than 2 days and disappears in less than 7.
- The pain is not accompanied by loss of strength.
- The general state of health is good; there is no fever or weight loss, there is no disease of any kind and treatments that may influence the pain are not being followed.
- To confirm the origin of the pain, if it is the first time that the back hurts or if the characteristics of the pain or its location are different from those of previous episodes.
- Due to the intensity or duration of the pain, if it is so intense that it is not relieved by analgesics that can be bought without a prescription or does not improve in 3 days or does not disappear in 7.
- By the characteristics of the pain, if it spreads up the arm or leg and it is more intense in these routes than in the back or neck, if it is accompanied by loss of strength or alterations in sensation, if it prevents all kinds of movement or is constant (that is, it does not change depending on posture or the movement).
- Because it is accompanied by other signs or it occurs in peculiar situations, if there is fever, extreme tiredness or weight loss, if you have other diseases or are taking medications that contraindicate some treatments for back pain.
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