Understanding Your Spine

Understanding Your Spine

Monday, November 14, 2022

The spine is a truly remarkable piece of architecture. Its design utilises both rigid support and dynamic flexibility which allows it to accomplish its functions of housing the spinal cord and supporting muscle and ligamentous attachments. 

The spine is made up of 33 bones called ‘vertebrae’. The cervical (neck) region is the most movable portion and is comprised of seven vertebrae. The ‘thoracic’ (mid back) region is comprised of twelve vertebrae which also have ribs attached to each of these vertebrae, one on each side, forming the rib cage. This design is to protect your vital organs and makes it less susceptible to injury but also makes this region of the body very rigid.  

The third section is the lumbar (low back) region which consists of five vertebrae which are very large and paly a major role in bearing the weight of your body. The function and range of movement allowed within this region makes this are more prone to injury. 

The second main division of the spinal column includes the sacrum and the coccyx which consisting of nine vertebrae and combine to form the pelvis. 

A typical vertebra is made up of two parts. The front part is called a vertebral body and is the main weight bearing section of the bone. The back section is made up of the pediculi, laminae, spinous process, transverse processes and the facets (spinal joints) which adjoin the above and below vertebrae giving the spine its flexibility.  

Viewed from behind, the spine should appear relatively straight, but if there is a sideways distortion then this is called a scoliosis. Viewed from the side, the spine should have four separate curves, but an excessive curve in the thoracic region (“hunchback or rounded shoulder”) is called a kyphosis. 

The forward bending curves in the neck and lower back are known as lordotic curves. The backward bending curves in the mid back and pelvis are known as kyphotic curves.  

Situated between the vertebrae are discs which act as shock absorbers or cushions and prevent contact or friction. Known as intervertebral discs they are also a common source of injury particularly as age and everyday wear and tear can predispose them to weakness.  

The spinal column is held together by a series of ligaments. These are strong, semi-elastic connective tissues which fasten bones together. Spinal stability is also maintained through a series of muscles which attach to and surround the spinal column holding it in position. Between each vertebrae a pair of spinal nerves exit the spinal cord (one on each side) and travel to various areas of the body sending and receiving messages to co-ordinate its function. It is easy to see why chiropractors place so much emphasis on protecting your spine. As it is paramount to the health and proper functioning of your body. 

Dr. Steve Hodal is committed to providing high-quality, individualized chiropractic care in a comfortable and relaxed environment. He is dedicated to providing evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each patient’s individual needs, allowing them to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Contact us to know more about this disorder or Book Online.