The back is really part of the spine.  These bones that make up the neck and back have three important functions.  The first is to support the body.   Without the structural support of this column of bones and discs, we would be unable to sit or stand.

Secondly, the spine allows for movement.  If the spine did not bend we would have difficulty tying our shoes, seeing ourselves without a mirror and many other things we take for granted.
Lastly, the spine protects the spinal cord and nerves along the neck and back.  These nerves are the communication system between our brain and all the other parts of our body.  A spine that is not functioning as well as it should, can cause aggravation to the nerves, decreasing their ability to communicate effectively.  This may show up as difficultly sleeping, indigestion, balance problems, leg or arm pains, muscle cramping, difficulty walking or one of many other symptoms.

If the spine is healthy it will move well in all directions without pain or discomfort.  Pain with movement is usually a sign that there is a loss of smooth motion within the joints, and that swelling has developed as a result.  Saskatchewan Health’s Spine Care Pathway cites research on low back pain, which indicates 90% or more of the people with back pain suffer as a result of a mechanical breakdown of motion within their spine.
The good news is that mechanical joint pain is treatable and generally responds quickly to conservative forms of care such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy. 

It is also very important what a person is doing for themselves.   Physical activity, exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the spine, and attention to good postural habits, are essential.  Otherwise the benefits from treatment will not last for long, and the health of the spine will continue to decay.

A healthy spine is something that most athletes can very easily understand.  It relates to efficient movement, greater endurance and better performance.  This can be the difference between getting the gold and not even placing.

The rest of us will still feel the benefits of a healthy and efficiently moving spine throughout our normal daily activities.  How does your body tolerate walking to the corner store, being able to stand and prepare meals, reaching to clean, vacuuming, raking the yard, or sitting on the floor to play a game with your child or grandchild?
To be able to move with ease and comfort is normal.  Symptoms are a sign that something is wrong.  Intervention to help improve the health of the spine should be pursued.