Back Anatomy and Back Pain

Hi, this is Dana Ranahan from Body Work Sports Physiotherapy, and I’m here today to talk about back pain. So many of us have experienced back pain at one point or another in our sporting career or a work career. And often if you’ve had back pain, you’re much more likely to have back pain again in the future.

So it’s really important for you to understand how your body moves and how it works, and then learn what you can do to manage things. And starting with that, we would kind of look at the anatomy of the low back so that we understand how it moves. So I have a model of the bones here to show you kind of the anatomy of the lower back.

And if we zoom into the low back, so this is the low back and more mid back and neck, and this would be your pelvis. If we zoom in a little bit on the lower back, you can see that this is the vertebra, which are kind of stacked on top of each other, like bricks and in the lower back, there’s normally a little bit of a sway or a forward curve from our back.

And you can see where the disc kind of looked like they protrude forward forward a little bit. At the back, we have facet joints, which is where we take some of our weight but what allows us to move. So as we flex those joints open up a little bit, as we arch our back, those joints close a little bit.

As we get older, we can get some wear and tear changes happening in those joints. When we look at how people move, we’re assessing what joints move and what joints don’t move. And sometimes you can have altered mechanics where some muscles are tight on one side or another, or you’ve had an injury where maybe a disc is now gotten injured and starts to bulk back.

And as you can see the discs are quite close to the nerves. These are the nerves as they come out at each level from the spine. So in between each vertebra is this disc, which when you have sometimes too much force either from bending or loading, you can get some bulging of the disc, which puts pressure back on the nerve.

So when we look at the anatomy of the low back, it helps us to understand the mechanisms which might cause back pain. And then we do a detailed assessment to help you understand what you can do to sort things out. If you have any other questions about how to treat your back or what might be going on with your back, please give us a call or you can also check out our website for more information at