There are five main components of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and the coccyx. The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull and contains seven vertebrae with eight pairs of cervical nerves. The main purposes of the cervical spine is to protect the spinal cord, support the skull, and enable movement of the head. The thoracic spine is located just below the cervical spine. It starts at the chest and ends at the pelvic area. It contains twelve vertebrae. The thoracic spine connects to the rib cage and protects most of the vital organs. The lumbar spine is the most commonly injured part of the back. The lumbar spine is typically made up of five vertebrae, and they are significantly larger than the other vertebrae because they support the majority of the body's weight. The sacrum is made of five fused vertebrae. It works with the lumbar spine to help support weight and leads to the coccyx. The coccyx is the terminal part of the spine and is typically made up of four/five fused vertebrae.
What is a low back strain or lumbar sprain?
Muscle strains and lumbar sprains are the most common causes of low back pain. A low back muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. A lumbar sprain occurs when the ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together, are torn from their attachments. Differentiating a strain from a sprain can be difficult, as both injuries will show similar symptoms. Many doctors refer to both injuries as a category called "musculoligamentous injuries" of the lumbar spine. In general, it doesn't matter what you call the problem because the treatment and prognosis for both back strains and sprains is the same.
Nearly everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life--it is the second most common cause of missed days of work in the United States! (Only a common cold causes more missed work). Almost all of these low back injuries are due to injuries of the muscle or ligament. If you don't know the cause of your back pain, you should have it evaluated by a doctor. Some warning signs of a serious injury to the spine include:
- Loss of control of bladder or bowels
- Progressive lower extremity weakness
- Severe, constant pain
As said earlier, most back pain is caused by a muscle strain or ligament sprain. However, there are serious conditions that require more immediate treatment. If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, you should be evaluated by a physician. If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney at Morici, Figlioli & Associates. Consultations are free.