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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

Back to the Basics: Spine Muscles and Ligaments

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

back musclesYour spine - and the bones within it - could not stand the slightest chance in trying to move or even hold themselves up without the muscles and ligaments that border them. A vital necessity of gaining some sort of background knowledge on back pain understands how these arrangements work and how they also can, at times, be the cause of injures.


Ligaments are cord-like objects that are attached to all the discs and bones on the spine. Although not as tough and hard as bone and not quite soft enough to qualify for muscle, they come in different sizes and are considered thick bands of tissue. They range between short ligaments (running between adjacent bones) to extensive ligaments (running to the end of the spine). Like muscle and bones, ligaments also deliver numerous vital and necessary functions that include providing sustenance and some type of support for the spine. The principal service that ligaments provide is making sure bones with a skeletal structure are held together properly. Essentially this allows bending and other movements to be made possible as long as it is within a safe range. Ligaments are perfectly suited for this task because they are somewhat elastic, thus giving them the ability to stretch just as much as necessary. Bending over and forcing your ligaments to reach their maximum length keeps your bones from moving farther apart. Without this, it would put unneeded pressure on other parts of the body such as the spine and discs within the spine to hold the skeletal structure together. Posture is something also very closely related to ligaments as they are kept in good position when they are able to maintain their regular elasticity.

Back Muscles

The wire-looking structures that have even more elasticity than ligaments are called muscles. Similar to ligaments, back muscles have the ability to stretch but, unlike them, they have the ability to contract and shorten. This in actuality is what happens when you do anything that involves movement. Your muscles are shortening and then expanding, pulling bones in various ways that, in due process, organize our actions. Pushing, pulling, lowering and even carrying something is your muscles at work.

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How Your Back Muscles Work

In lamented terms, a message is sent by your brain that travels within the nerves to the accurate muscle. After the message has arrived at its destination (the back muscle), the muscle will shorten due to the chemicals inside of it. This shortening pulls on the bone because the muscle is attached.

Muscles carry a heavy load in terms of work and can probably be considered your back’s absolute best friend. With properly conditioned muscles, your back will be able to maintain its strength and flexibility in due process allowing your body to move without risking injury. The more you move, exercise your back muscles, and remain flexible, the stronger your back. Muscles are reducing the load and weight that your bones must carry when they are operating correctly as well as reducing the load that your facet joints, ligaments, and disks must carry. However, this strength and endurance is lost when the muscles become deconditioned from a lack of use or injury that prevents use.

Injuries result when muscles are not properly stretched. A muscle strain or pull will result if you are lucky but many times muscles.  The uplifting news in all of this is that muscles tend to heal much faster than ligaments or bones because of their virtuous blood supply.

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Topics: back pain relief, spine, general back pain, spine health, spine pain, back and spine specialist, natural treatment options for back pain