Anatomy 101- The Spine!

Posted Jun 13, 2022 at 14:53

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Anatomy 101 - The spine

Anatomy 101 is a series I've toyed with doing for a while now and I'm excited to say the time has finally come! 

I’ll be going through general anatomy of certain areas first, going in more detail as we get a good foundation of knowledge built.

The first area we’re going to look at is the spine as a whole. It makes sense to start here as it’s the part of the body I come into contact with the most every day at work!

The spine is made up of 33 segments in total and are split up into 5 areas. These are the cervical spine (7), the thoracic spine (12), the lumbar spine (5), the sacrum (5) and the coccyx (4). In most cases, as we reach adulthood the sacrum and coccyx each become one bony mass instead, reducing that number down to 26 (or 24 + sacrum + coccyx).

 

Each individual area of the spine is unique as they are designed for different roles, but they also have traits that help them work together allowing us to move and bend the way we do. A great example of this is when we look at one of the spine's main functions, shock absorption.

Shock absorption is a must for our bodies as every step we take sends vibrations through our bones and joints. Without the spines shock absorption capabilities we would wear down and injure a lot easier. 

The spine has conquered shock absorption in two ways. 

The first of which is that between each vertebrae of our spine there sits a disc. These discs are best described as jelly filled sweeties absorbing shock and providing a protective cushion between the hard bony bodies of the vertebrae. 

The second is our spines natural curves. We should have three opposing curves going up the spine called a lordosis (in the cervical and lumbar spine) and kyphosis (in the thoracic spine). These help the spine act as a spring, further helping shock absorption and allowing us to walk/run/jump/sit etc. the way we do.

More details on these incredibly interesting parts of our anatomy coming soon!