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The back of the human torso is commonly referred to as the back, which connects upwards to the neck and ends downwards at the level of the coccyx. The back is formed from the spine, the back sections of the ribs and the relatively pronounced back muscles and the surrounding connective tissue structures. According to the medical definition, the shoulder or shoulder blades are not part of the back, but colloquially they are often also referred to as sections of the back. The spine is located in the middle of the back and is clearly recognizable as a line that is bordered on both sides by the back muscles. The spinous processes of the individual vertebrae are usually recognizable through the skin. Between the vertebrae are the intervertebral discs, which serve as buffers and ensure the mobility of the spine. The different movements of the spine are controlled by the back muscles.
The spine is divided into cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, which are made up of 24 movable vertebrae with 23 intervertebral discs in between, as well as sacrum and coccyx, which consist of several overgrown vertebrae. The spine is the load-bearing element of the back, and its light S-shape makes it easier to cushion impacts. It is exposed to considerable stresses in the course of life, which can sometimes lead to degenerative spinal disorders or deformations. The herniated disc is one of the most well-known spinal disorders here. Another very common degenerative spinal disease is the so-called vertebral sliding. The most common deformation of the spine is scoliosis (spinal curvature), which can be caused, for example, by persistent unilateral stress.
Overall, the spectrum of possible symptoms along the spine is extremely broad, whereby the nerve pathways running here are often affected, which in addition to back pain and lower back pain can lead to complaints in the respective nerve care area. If the sciatic nerve is pinched, for example, pain often appears on the back of the thigh. In the worst case, the nerve pathways can be interrupted by a fracture of the spine, which leads to paraplegia. In addition to the diseases of the spine that occur in the course of life, congenital diseases of the back are also possible. For example, the open back (spina bifida) forms a severe congenital developmental disorder, which is usually associated with lifelong impairments.
Back pain can be traced back to disorders in the area of the spine, but they can also often be observed in connection with tension in the back muscles. The hardened muscles press on the surrounding tissue structures and nerve pathways, which means that those affected sometimes suffer from considerable pain. Restrictions on movement or a stiff back or lumbago can also be due to muscle tension. If muscular complaints are the cause of back pain, relief can usually be achieved relatively quickly with massages, physiotherapy and possibly acupuncture. In addition to the above-mentioned impairments, various diseases from the rheumatic type such as, for example, ankylosing spondylitis can lead to complaints in the back area, whereby treatment is only possible to a limited extent here. (fp)