Part I
By Scott Byrd, ATC/L
Fort Sanders Sports Medicine
The lower back carries most of the body’s weight. We depend on the lower back for mobility and strength. This complex structure allows us to twist, bend, and turn. When the lower back is healthy, we have the strength to stand, walk, and lift. When there is pain in the lower back, we may have to restrict our daily activities. This applies to work, play, and the household routine. Even a minor problem with the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, or tendons can cause pain. One person’s pain is different from the next person’s. It can be uncomfortable when you stand, bend, or move around. Sometimes, a backache will come on while you are sitting, driving a car, or lying down.
Low back pain is very common. Four out of five adults will experience low back pain at one time or another. Next to the common cold, lower back problems are the number one reason for people over 45 to miss a day of work.
What Are The Risk Factors?
People who are not in good physical condition are prone to back problems. So are those who do heavy lifting, or who sit or stand for long periods of time each day. Not only are such people at greater risk of pain, they tend to take longer getting better. Emotional stress or long periods of inactivity also prolong the healing process.
Next week, look for more information on back pain—I’ll discuss causes and treatments for this common problem.
Scott Byrd, coordinator of the Fort Sanders Sports Medicine program, certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and Licensed by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. Scott is also a National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) Approved Clinical Instructor as well as a NATA Board of Certification approved examiner

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