The spine, or vertebral column, is an important part of the body. It is the bone structure responsible for protecting your spinal cord and keeping you standing upright. However, despite its role in your health and daily life, how much do you know about it really?
Here are a few spine facts to teach you more about the spine, its anatomy, and function:
Did You Know…
That your spine is not a single bone but a bone system?
If you ever thought about your spine as a single bone that is about a meter long, you are wrong. It is in fact, composed of:
- 26 bones (24 vertebrae, the sacrum, and the coccyx)
- Spinal cord
- Cartilaginous elements
- Nerve roots
- Vascular system
Together, these components work together to support the various limbs and functions of the human body.
That your spine is designed for load-bearing support and flexibility?
We are all taught that we need to take good care of the spine because it is a sensitive part of the body. However, it is in fact a force to be reckoned with. According to a study, the human spine has a passive load-bearing capacity of 1000 Newtons. This capacity is increased if a person gets involved in strenuous activities.
That your spine serves 2 functions: mobility and upright posture?
The main difference between humans and apes is their posture. Unlike quadrumana, or the four-handed ones, like some apes, humans have an upright posture. While both have spines, human spines support and bear the weight of the head, neck, and torso allowing us to stand up straight.
However, its vertical alignment does not mean that your spine is straight. It forms an S-curve, and one of its functions is to prevent people from toppling forward. Its flexibility also allows for movement such as when twisting, bending, rotating the head, and others.
That there are several things that can go wrong with the spine?
The spine plays an important role in our health and is also sensitive to movement. Common spinal problems include:
Injuries to the spine are also common. A number of people suffer from slipped discs is the result of a strong impact on the spine or from constant sitting. In addition, diseases like multiple sclerosis and degenerative disc disease can degrade the nerve fibres of the spine.
That the cervical spine allows the movement of the head?
The cervical spine (neck area) is an awesome piece of engineering. It allows the head to nod, look up, down, and move sideways. It is also worth noting that even with its extreme sensitivity, the cervical vertebrae can support the weight of the head which is about 4.5 to 5 kilograms without hair.
That the spinal column protect the spinal cord?
Understanding why the spinal cord is important will allow you to protect your spine better.
How does the spinal cord work? This tubular structure sends messages to the brain and the peripheral nervous system. Damage to the spinal column can affect a person’s mobility. Depending on the severity of the damage, it could lead to paraplegia (the loss of use of the lower limbs) or quadriplegia (the partial or total loss of use of the arms, legs, and torso).
The spinal column encases the cord and protects it from harm.
That the cross-section of the spinal cord has a butterfly-shaped structure in the centre?
Just like the vertebrae, the spinal cord is also quite complex and is difficult to replicate. The cross-section of the cord reveals a grey area in the centre shaped like a butterfly. This holds the control centres storing a person’s DNA. The white region surrounding the grey area contains the fine branches of the nerve cells that stretch from the brain to the fingertips.
That a “spinal tap” does not only refer to the 60s rock band?
The spinal cord is cushioned by a clear fluid to minimize damage when injured. A spinal tap (or lumbar puncture) is the process of withdrawing the white fluid using a hollow needle. This test is done to diagnose infection, brain hemorrhage, and some cancers.
That the tailbone doesn’t mean humans used to have tails?
One widespread belief is that humans evolved from monkeys and that the coccyx, or tailbone, is proof of that. However, researchers found that this is not actually the case.
The tailbone is not a vestigial tail but an important part of the overall spinal structure. It is an anchoring point for ligaments and pelvic muscles. Injuring the coccyx could mean having a difficult time walking. It got its name from the cuckoo since it is shaped like the bird’s beak.
That if you want to be taller, you should measure yourself in the morning or go to space?
In space, people are taller because of the lack of gravity that pull the vertebrae together. Astronauts can grow 5cm taller when they are in space. If you cannot go to space however, you can always measure in the morning since you are 1cm taller by then than later in the day.
That, historically, people have been obsessed with various treatments for back pain and other diseases related to the spine?
People from all over the world and throughout history have practiced their own forms of spinal treatment. The Egyptians, for one, developed techniques focused on fixing a pulled vertebra. The Chinese, as early as 2700 B.C., were already practicing intentional spinal manipulation.
The spine, while it serves a central function in the human body, is one of the most sensitive areas and requires much tender loving care. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are leaning towards the more sedentary part of the spectrum. Because of this, more and more people may be at risk of spinal problems.
Fortunately, you don’t have to turn to modern advancements to receive effective treatment. Developed by Daniel David Palmer in 1895, chiropractic care offers a promising solution to your spinal problems. Chiropractic can also treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, non-musculoskeletal conditions, or injuries. While a great number of people continue to be skeptical about this treatment despite its growing popularity, when done by a trained professional, it is safe and effective.
Entrust your spine health to Fairway Chiropractic Centre. Our top-rated Kitchener-Waterloo chiropractors will help restore your mobility and overall wellness. For inquiries, give us a call at (519) 748-5535. We will happily answer any questions you may have.