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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Spine!

Your spine is your biggest supporter. Yet, few people have ever sat down and really tried to understand their spine, its parts and how it works. Sure, going to the chiropractor is smart, but educating yourself makes you even smarter and you can wow your chiropractor with your knowledge at your next appointment! Here’s a quick rundown of the different parts of your spine and what it does for you!

Cervical Spine

This is your neck. There are seven cervical vertebrae numbered from C1 to C7. C1 is also called the “atlas” because it holds your skull much like the God Atlas held up the globe of the earth. C2 is called the “axis” because it allows you to turn your head from side to side and tilt it. Pretty awesome!

Discs

Between the bones in your back, or vertebrae, there are little pads called discs. They work like cushions between the bones and also help to absorb shock so your vertebrae won’t bump into each other as you run, jump, bend or walk. They’re pretty important!

Thoracic Spine

This is your chest. There are twelve thoracic vertebrae in your spine numbered from T1 to T12 and they are connected to your ribs. If you trace your ribs around from the front to the back you can feel where your ribs attach to the thoracic vertebrae in your back.

Lumbar Spine

The five lumbar vertebrae are the biggest, thickest and most massive vertebrae in the spine. They’re the little Arnold Schwarzenegger of your back because they support the weight of the whole spine. This is why so many problems can occur in the lower back and you may experience pain there. They have a big job to do so that increases their chances of getting out of whack and causing you problems that your chiropractor can address.

Sacrum

Right under the lumbar vertebrae is lies the sacrum. It is a triangular shaped bone that connects to your hips on either side.

Coccyx

You have arrived at your tailbone. If you’ve ever landed hard on your backside, you are more than well aware of where you tailbone is! This part of the spine is made up of four fused vertebrae and is the last vestige of the tail that our ancestors once had. It is named after the Greek word “Kokkyx” or “cuckoo” because early anatomists thought it looked like a cuckoo’s beak. File that little factoid away for you next game of Trivial Pursuit!

Now, you’re ready to see your chiropractor and wow them with your knowledge of your spine!

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Yutaka Seki

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