20 Incredible facts about the human spine

  1. lowbackpain-spineThe spinal cord serves three crucial functions: supporting the body’s weight, providing flexibility for movement, protecting the spinal cord, nerve roots and fibers.
  1. The human spine is made up of 33 irregularly shaped bones called vertebrae.
  1. When you’re born, your spine contains 33 individual vertebrae. But as we age, some of them fuse together. In fact, five vertebrae that make our sacrum become one bone and the coccygeal vertebrae fuse together as one, which forms the tailbone.
  1. The spinal cord is divided into five different regions. From top to bottom, they are:

7 cervical vertebrae

12 thoracic vertebrae

5 lumbar vertebrae

5 sacrum fused vertebrae

4 coccyx fused vertebrae

  1. Both giraffes and humans have 7 vertebrae in their necks!
  2. There are approximately 13.5 million neurons in the spinal cord.
  1. That’s why the spine is like the main highway of communication, sending more than a million signals between the brain and the rest of the body every day.
  1. The spine contains over 100 joints, 220 individual ligaments, and more than 120 muscles.
  1. Your spine is so flexible that it can bend 2/3 of a full circle.
  1. The spine provides 4 natural motions:

-Flexion (forward)

-extension (backward)

-side bending (left and right)

-rotation (turning on the central axis of the body)

  1. The cervical vertebrae is sometimes called “Atlas”, which refers to the mythical Greek Atlas who had to lift the weight of the world on his shoulders – the same as the neck supports the weight of the head.
  1. More than 25 percent of the spine’s length is made up of cartilage, a sponge-like substance that separates and protects each vertebral disc.
  1. This cartilage can expand and contract. Over the decades, gravity shrinks the cartilage of our spine, which is why were actually lose height as we age. That’s also why we’re slightly taller in the morning than at night.
  1. Conversely, cartilage expands in the absence of gravity – like outer space. So when astronauts return from space they are usually 1.5 or 2 inches taller than when they left.
  1. The human spine is amazingly strong and resilient, able to bear the weight and pressure of hundreds and hundreds of pounds.
  1. 82 percent of people who suffer spinal cord injuries are male. Experts aren’t exactly sure why this is true, except for the explanation that men engage in far more adventure sports, high impact sports, and are riskier on the roadways, etc.
  1. The number one cause of spinal cord injuries are from motor vehicle accidents, account for about 35 percent of all spinal cord injuries each year. But once people reach the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
  1. The leading cause of workplace disability is due to spinal cord disorders and injuries.
  1. Motor vehicle accidents account for the most common cause of spinal cord trauma and lower back pain in the U.S.
  1. Spinal Health Week – also called Spinal Awareness Week – will be held May 25-31 in 2016; a time to educate the public about chiropractic and spinal health and encourage them to make lifestyle changes. Likewise, World Spine Day is October 16 every year.