A little about spines from the chiropractors at our Baulkham Hills Clinic.
There are lots of sayings about the spine. “Grow a backbone”, “put your back into it”, even, famously, “a shiver waiting for a spine to crawl up”. But we often don’t give much thought to the structure that holds us upright, allows us to move and keeps us strong. May is Spinal Health Month, so – being chiropractors – we are going to talk about spines.
Firstly, lets talk about the bones. We’ll leave the nerves and muscles for another day.
The spine consists of 26 bones – 24 vertebrae, the sacrum and the coxcyx – or tailbone. These bones can be divided into 5 parts:
- The Cervical Spine – there are 7 vertebrae in the upper part of the spine, or neck. These are the thinnest and most delicate of the vertebrae, despite the fact they hold up a head which weighs around 4.5-5kgs!
- The Thoracic Spine – these 12 vertebrae each provide an anchor for a pair of ribs, so they are strong and stable
- The Lumbar Spine – this is the lower back and consists of 5 vertebrae. The whole weight of the upper body rests on these vertebrae
- The Sacral – a flat triangular bone that is wedged between the two hip bones
- The Coccygeal – the human tailbone, which is an evolutionary left-over from when we actually had tails! This bone is the anchor point for the pelvic and gluteal muscles.
In between each of the vertebrae are discs of soft pulpy tissue and cartilage that act as shock absorbers to protect the bones. The spinal column runs down the spine through these vertebrae and discs.
The majority of back related problems relate to either the Cervical Spine – because of the delicate nature of the bones there – or the Lumbar Spine – due to the weight it supports. Whilst we do see some Thoracic Spine issues, the support of the ribs they are linked to gives them some protection and stability.
So that’s it for the bones. Next time we will talk about the nerves and later about the muscles and ligaments, and you will begin to understand why back problems can cause so much pain, and why taking care of your back is so vital to your overall well-being.
At Precision Health Spine & Sports Clinic Baulkham Hills we take backs very seriously – and we take care of them with Precision.