The human spine

  •  The human spine has attributes similar to a machine. It closely follows the following machine characteristics,
    1. Age
    2. Endurance
    3. Mechanical limit and efficiency
  • The spine looks like stack of bone blocks connected by mobile hinges (disc in front and facet joints behind). During activity, these disc bind the blocks together to maintain erect posture and at the same give movement. The disc are protected to large extent by the surrounding trunk muscles (core muscles).
  • Unlike the best man-made machine, The spine grows stronger till 25 years of age. This can be achieved with proper diet, weight control and regular exercise. These are years of high activity. The endurance is high allowing one to work for long hours without pain. Though postural aches and cramps due to poor posture are common as one exceeds the mechanical limit.
  • Uncontrolled and unaccustomed strenuous activity can lead to mechanical failure (disc herniation)
  • After 25 years of age, the process of degeneration (spondylosis) begins. The initial signs are early fatigue in the day and difficulty in routine bending and stooping activity.
  •  Any machine that works beyond the mechanical limit with heat up and stop temporarily. Pain recurring with little exertion and getting relieved with rest are these warning signals. Reducing weight (load reduction) and exercising (servicing the machine) improves efficiency and reduces pain.
  •  Disabling pain in the back with radiation to legs are signs of complications and should be reported to a spine surgeon.