For those who have been injured in a car accident or suffer from chronic pain, the spine is the key to overall health and wellness. While chiropractors have been treating many types of illness and injury naturally and holistically for years, the general public still understands very little about the role of the spine in seemingly unrelated conditions.
In this blog we will take a look at the anatomy of the spine, in an effort to better understand why chiropractic care and spinal manipulation is so important.
The spine, also known as the backbone, runs from the pelvis to the base of the skull, and is instrumental in supporting an individual’s body weight, as well as protecting the spinal cord within. The spine does have natural curves which allow for an even distribution of body weight, and give it the ability to withstand significant amounts of stress.
The spine is made up of a series of discs and bones stacked on top of each other. Discs, made up of very strong tissue and a gel-like interior, are located in between each bone to reduce friction and act as shock absorbers.
The spinal cord runs through the spinal column. It is a network of nerve fibers arranged into 31 nerve roots which are responsible for transmitting messages to all parts of the body. Without this network, movement and even organ function is not possible. This is why a spinal injury can cause a host of other issues such as organ failure, sinus issues or headaches.
Spinal Cord Arrangement
These bones are divided into three regions:
Neck: Also known as the cervical region, the neck contains 7 vertebrae, numbered C1 through C7. Vertebrae C1 is located between the base of the skull and the rest of the spine, and together with C2 it allows for the free and pain-free movement of the neck when healthy. A slight curve, bending inward, is located in the area of the cervical spine.
Thoracic: The thoracic spine is located in the chest region, and is connected to the rib cage. Vertebrae T1 through T12 reside in the thoracic region, which is where the second natural curvature of the spine is located.
Lumbar: The lumbar legion is your lower back, and contains vertebrae L1 through L5. Lumbar vertebrae are the largest and strongest, as they bear the bulk of the body’s weight. The lumbar spine connects the spinal cord with the pelvis.
Did You Know? Vertebrae are made up of bones and joints, the latter allowing for movement, stability and strength. Facet joints connect the vertebrae and allow them to move against one another without damage. Without these joints we would not be able to twist, bend over, or move from side to side. In the middle of each single vertebrae is a hole which allows the spinal column and nerves to pass through.
Other Definitions to Know:
Sacrum: The sacrum are several vertebrae which fuse together in the womb, forming the bottom of the spine and the back of the pelvis.
Coccyx: Also known as the tailbone, the coccyx is also formed by the fusion of bones in utero. It is located directly below the sacrum.
When a vertebrae, joint, disc or nerve bundle is misaligned, proper bodily function is compromised. That is why seeking the expertise of a chiropractor can bring such relief. By gently manipulating the spine to bring it back into alignment, it relieves the pressures,pinches and rubbing of spinal bones and discs which are not meant to touch.
For more information on how your spine affects your health, and to discuss how we can help get you back to feeling great – call West Coast Wellness today.