Facts about your spine
25 March 2022
Your spine is a very interesting part of your body. The design of the spine gives it incredible properties, like it’s flexibility and protection of the spinal cord.
Your spine has over 120 muscles in it, 220 individual ligaments and 100 joints, which is why the spine is so flexible and why it allows us to use it in so many different ways. The spine usually consists of 7 bones in the neck, 12 in the upper back, five in the lower back, and the sacral and coccygeal bones beneath. Each of these bones is completely unique.
When we are born, our spine is made up of 33 bones (vertebrae), but these aren’t fully made up of bone. They start as cartilage. By the time we are 25 years old, the vertebrae are made up completely of bone. Adults don’t always have 33 vertebrae either. As we grow, some of our vertebrae can fuse together, so some adults can have 26 vertebrae.
Your central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. Your spinal cord is protected and contained by the spine. Messages are sent from the brain down your spinal cord and out to the rest of your body, it then receives signals back from the body parts. This is how your body knows how to interact with its environment and when to move certain parts of your body. Your spine carries more than a million nerve messages between your brain and body every day.
The cartilage in your spine can expand and contract. This is why as we age we can get shorter. The pull that gravity has on our bodies over the years shrinks our cartilage, and in turn our height decreases over time. It’s normal to shrink about one inch as you age.
Five fun facts about your spine:
- Humans and giraffes both have seven bones in their neck.
- The spinal cord ends two thirds of the way down the back. After this point it is strands of nerves which look like a horse’s tail, hence the name “cauda equina”.
- The highest bone in the neck is the ‘atlas’, named after the Titan god. He was charged with holding up the sky, and our neck is in charge of holding up our whole head.
- The name coccyx (tailbone) is derived from “cuckoo” because the shape of the tailbone looks like a cuckoo’s beak.
- We are the only mammals that suffer from scoliosis.
“The spine is the tree of life. Respect it.” – Martha Graham
Chiropractic care is a great way of taking care of your spinal health. It helps to keep the joints mobile and your spine flexible, both of which help to give it the incredible properties we spoke about above.
If you’re ready to take better care of your spinal health, click here to book a consultation with one of our expert Chiropractors.