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  • Writer's pictureAlign Chiropractic

Sound Structure = Proper Function

The spine, also known as the vertebral column or backbone, is a crucially vital part of the human body that provides support and protection to the spinal cord while also allowing movement and flexibility.

The Structure:

The spine consists of 33 vertebrae arranged in five regions: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. The cervical region, located in the neck, has 7 vertebrae, while the thoracic region, located in the upper back, has 12. The lumbar region, located in the lower back, has 5 vertebrae, followed by the sacral region, which has 5 fused vertebrae, and the coccygeal region, which has 4 fused vertebrae.

Each vertebra has a similar structure, with a cylindrical body, a bony arch, and several processes. The body of the vertebrae stack on top of each other to form a column, and the bony arches surround and protect the spinal cord. The processes provide attachment points for muscles and ligaments, which help to support the spine.

The Function:

The spine has several critical functions in the body, including protecting the spinal cord, supporting the weight of the head and upper body, and allowing for movement and flexibility. The spinal cord is a delicate structure that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and the spine serves as a protective shield around it.

The spine's ability to support the weight of the upper body is due to the intervertebral discs that sit between each vertebra. These discs along with the developmentally created curves of the spine act as shock absorbers and help to distribute weight evenly throughout the spine.

The spine's flexibility allows us to move our head, neck, and body in different directions. This flexibility is due to the various joints between the vertebrae, which allow for movement in several planes.

In summary, the spine's structure and function are crucial to our overall health and wellbeing. Understanding how the spine works and how to keep it healthy is essential for maintaining an active and pain-free lifestyle.

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