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The spine is the central support structure of the body. It connects different parts of the musculoskeletal system. The spine helps you stand, sit, bend, walk, twist, and turn. The design of the spine is such that it always protects the spinal cord.
Your spine surgeon in Las Vegas, NV can also further explain the cause of your condition and which area is the culprit.
Important Components of the Spine
If you see the spine of a person, you will notice three natural curves. The curves look like an S-shape. These curves are responsible for absorbing shocks to your body. They protect the spine from major injuries. Here are a few parts that make up the spine:
There are 33 small bones (vertebrae) that constitute the spinal canal. The vertebrae form a tunnel that protects the nerves and spinal cord from injuries. The small bones move in tandem to ensure that your body is flexible. That is why you will notice that your movement becomes limited when you suffer from a back injury. The injury doesn’t allow the vertebrae to move freely. However, the lowest vertebrae, known as coccyx and sacrum, don’t move. They remain fused to each other.
Facet joints or spinal joints are slippery connective tissues. These joints allow your vertebrae to slide smoothly against each other. It is due to the facet joints that you are able to twist and turn so easily. They provide stability and flexibility to your spine.
Intervertebral disks are round, flat cushions located between each bone in your vertebrae. They are the shock absorbers of your body. Without them, your spine would be prone to injuries far more easily. The intervertebral disks contain a nucleus pulposus that looks like a soft, gel-like structure. Injuries like herniated disks happen when you put too much pressure on your intervertebral disks. Sometimes, the gel-like substance leaks out from the disks. This causes ruptured disks or bulging in your spine.
The spinal cord houses a set of nerves that pass through your spinal canal. It starts right from your skull and ends at your lower back. You will find thirty-two pairs of nerves that branch out from various vertebral openings. These vertebral openings are known as the neural foramen. They are responsible for carrying messages from your muscles to your brain.
The soft tissues in your vertebrae keep the spine in its position. They are surrounded by muscles to support your back and allow you to move freely. There are tendons that connect these muscles so that it becomes easier to move around.
There are five spine segments that you need to know about:
This is the top part of your spine. It contains seven vertebrae, namely C1 to C7. These vertebrae allow you to tilt, nod, and turn your head. You will see that the cervical part of your spine looks like a C-shape. This part is also called the lordotic curve.
The thoracic part (T1 to T12), has 12 vertebrae. It attaches your ribs to your thoracic spine. If you see the anatomy of your back, you will notice that the thoracic part slightly bends outward. Doctors call it the kyphotic curve.
The lumbar part or lower back contains five vertebrae, from L1 to L5. They constitute the lower back of your spine. The lower part of the spine supports its upper part so that they can both move without any disruptions.
This is a triangle-shaped bone that connects to your hips. It contains five vertebrae, from S1 to S5. These bones don’t move, and they form the pelvic girdle.
These are the last of the small bones in the vertebrae. They attach to the ligaments and pelvic floor muscles at the bottom of your spine.
Exercising is the best way to keep your spine healthy. Consult a spine doctor or spine surgeon in Las Vegas, NV if you injure your back. Quick diagnosis may help prevent long-term treatment or the need for spine surgery.