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Medical Advice in Back Pain Back Pain Risk Factors Back Pain Common Causes
Medical Causes Rare Medical Causes Back Pain Complications
Screening and Diagnosis Self-Care and Treatment Medications and Therapies
Chronic Back Pain Treatments Surgery and Other Treatments Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Back Pain Prevention Statistics for Back Pain Glossary of Terms

Anatomy Basics for Back Pain

The Back is delicate and complex structure made up of bone, muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues, such as cartilage.

The main component of back is the Spinal Column, also called the Backbone and Vertebral Column. The Spinal Column is a flexible column of Vertebrae bones that houses the Spinal Cord in its Spinal Canal. Each vertebra is separated by an Intervertebral Disc, which is made from cartilaginous material and functions to support the Spinal Column and enables it to be flexible. That is, each disc allows slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together.

Nervous System is essential for life and function. For example, the Nervous System allows the sense organs to provide information that the brain can process, controls the movements of the voluntary and involuntary and muscles in the body, and regulates the internal organs so that they can maintain and support life. The Nervous System consists of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

Central Nervous System (CNS) represents the largest part of the nervous system, and includes the brain and the Spinal Cord. Together with the Peripheral Nervous System, the CNS has a fundamental role in the support of life and function.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), is an essential part of the nervous system, and consists of the all nerves and neurons that exist outside of the Central Nervous System (CNS). That is, the PNS consists of all nerves and neurons in the body, expect for this in the brain and Spinal Cord. The PNS connects the muscles and organs to the Central Nervous System, so that they can be controlled and monitored. Unlike the Central Nervous System, the PNS is not protected by bone or the blood-brain barrier, leaving it exposed to toxins and physical injuries. The PNS is divided into the Somatic Nervous System (SNS) and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

Somatic Nervous System is the part of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) that is involved in the voluntary control of body movements (via skeletal muscles), and also the reception of external stimuli. That is, the Somatic Nervous System includes all nerves and neurons between the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the muscles, sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, etc), and skin.

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is the part of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) that is not under conscious control, and consists of three nervous subsystems which together are responsible for the homeostasis of organs, digestion, energy conservation, energy expenditure, the 'fight or flight' response, and the basic physiological functions necessary to support life.

As you can see from above, if any part of the nervous system is damaged, then the result could be the loss of movement of a limb, the loss of function of an internal organ, or even the loss of life. Because the Spinal Cord is such an important part of the nervous system, then any damage to this can have catastrophic consequences. Anything that damages the back, or cause back pain, has the potential to damage the Spinal Cord.

Back Pain

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