Your Spine is made of 4 Major parts
- Spinal Cord : Spinal cord is a long tube like structure which begins at the bottom of the brain stems and goes all the way down till the tail bone. It is approximately 18 inch long and thick as a thumb. Spinal cord consists of lot of nerves which carry signals between brain and rest of the body and controls all body movements. The spinal cord is covered by vertebrae surrounding and protecting it.
- Nerve root or Nerves : The nerves does a very crucial job by acting as a messengers between the brain and the body to control body movement and sensations. At times, due to spinal injury or condition these nerves get pinched causing pain or unpleasant sensation in leg or fingers. People mistakenly believe that this pain or sensation must be due to some injury in leg or hand. But note that this pain is arising due to spinal injury causing discomfort to the nerve connected to that body part.
- Vertebrae or Bone : The spine is made of 33 individual bones placed one above the other like a stack separated by disc in between. Out of these 33 bones, only the top 24 are movable and they control almost all of your major movements like standing or sitting upright, bending, twisting or turning. They also act like a shield covering the Spinal cord. The vertebrae is divided in 3 major group of moveable bones. To know more on vertebrae scroll down and read the “Segments of the Spine”
- Disc : Disc are cushion like structure placed between each of the vertebrae which acts like a shock absorbers and prevents the bones to rub off during movement. They are filled with a liquid substance. During Spinal injury at times this liquid leaks out causing friction between the vertebrae
Apart from the above 4, Spine is surrounded by Muscles and Ligaments which help in stabilizing the spine and plays a major role in maintaining proper posture
SEGMENTS OF THE SPINE
The Spine Vertebrae is divided in 3 major group consisting of movable bones:
1.Cervical Spine 2.Thoracic Spine 3. Lumbar Spine
The 3 major group of vertebrae is made of 24 bones that represents the major part of your spine.
- The first group Cervical Spine has 7 bones. These seven bones control the flexibility in your neck and support your head movements. The Cervical vertebrae bones are slightly smaller than the rest of the bones in your spine.
- The next group Thoracic Spine is the largest group and has 12 bones which are connected to your ribs. These twelve bones provides you stability and support to lift heavy objects.
- The next group Lumbar Spine is the most popular group and has 5 bones. Out of all the 33 bones that forms the Spine; these 5 are the biggest and heaviest vertebrae and they bear the entire weight of your whole spine. Most lower back pain occurs in this group.
There are 2 more groups but they are of immovable bones and not so prone to injury
- Sacrum is a set of 5 bones forming a triangular shape and connects your spine to your hips. This vertebrae controls signals to your reproductive organs, upper legs and thighs. They are very strong and they rarely get damaged except in traumatic accidents.
- The Coccyx is the last group and popularly referred as tailbone. It’s made up of four bones fused together to support you while sitting.