24 articulating bones moving together to protect your spinal cord. Take care of your spine and it will take care of you.
Your brain takes in millions of bits of information about what’s going on in and around you every moment. It processes all this information and sends out millions of commands, such as how fast your heart should beat, how your blood chemistry should balance, what your blood pressure should be, how to throw a football, how to bake cookies and what kind of coat to wear today. It is because of your brain that you can remember millions of details, express feelings and experience emotions. Your nervous system is the integral link between your brain and your body.
You’re Covered In Nerves
Your spinal cord is made up of billions of nerve “wires” that run from your brain down your back. Millions of nerve fibers branch off from the spinal cord and travel all over your body. They are so numerous that if all your skin, bones, muscles, blood vessels and organs were to vanish and only your nerves were to remain, you’d still be recognizable!
Damage to the brain or spinal cord can be irreversible. When healing does occur, it is not from the growing of new nerves, but from old nerves learning to take over the damaged nerves’ functions.
The delicate brain and spinal cord need special protection, so nature covers them in bone. Your brain is protected by your skull and your spinal cord is surrounded by 33 bones called vertebrae, from the Latin word vertere, meaning, “to turn”. The bones of your vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other, creating the spinal column. The empty space in the center of each vertebrae creates a canal through which your spinal cord travels. The ancient Greeks thought that the ‘bumps’ created by vertebrae looked like thorns, or spins in Greek – the origin of the word “spine”.
Cervical Spine (Neck)
The bones in your neck are also called cervical vertebrae. Your first cervical vertebra, directly below your skull, is known as C-1 or the “atlas” because it holds the globe of the skull just as the mythological god Atlas held up the globe of the earth. Your second cervical vertebra, C-2, is also called the “axis” because it permits your head to turn and tilt. The remaining five vertebrae have numerical names – C-3 through C-7.
Thoracic Spine (Chest)
There are twelve thoracic vertebrae, all with numerical names (T-1 through T-12). Your ribs are connected in the back to these vertebrae and attach in the front to your sternum.
Lumbar Spine (Lower Back)
You have five lumbar vertebrae (L1 through L5). These are the largest and thickest of your vertebrae because their placement at the bottom of the spine requires them to hold up the most weight. This demand on your lumbar vertebrae often contributes to lower back pain.
Under the lumbar vertebrae is the sacrum, a triangular shaped bone made up of five fused vertebrae. Sacrum is for the Latin word for “sacred” – this portion of an animal was often used in sacrifices. The sacrum connects to the hip on either side.
The Coccyx (Tailbone)
The final section of the spinal column is a small piece of bone made up of four fused vertebrae, called the coccyx. Coccyx is derived from the Greek kokkyx or “cuckoo”.
Between most of your vertebrae are pads called discs that act as cushions or shock absorbers so that your vertebrae don’t bump against one another when you move.
Your spinal column has four main functions:
- To protect your brain and spinal cord.
- To support your hips, legs, soldiers and arms.
- To serve as attachments to muscles and permit you to stand and move.
- To support your head and ribs.
Occasionally your spinal column becomes unbalanced. When this occurs, it may put stress on your bones, spinal cord, brain and other nerves that can cause pain, fatigue, weakness and disease. Dr. Anselmi locates any unbalance, or Vertebral Subluxation, and gently re-aligns your spinal column to remove stress from your neck and bones, helping to restore health and wholeness to your body.
See your doctor of chiropractic periodically to have your spine; balance checked. Your body will thank you for it.