Sit, lay, jump, run, bend over or turn your head - without the spine this would not be possible. The central axis of our body allows for movements and activities in various directions, while ensuring stability.
One of nature's perfect sophisticated structural designs of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves ensures that the multi-functional, multi-talented spine optimally fulfils all of these tasks.
The spine consists of 24 vertebrae which can be divided into three sections: the cervical spine with seven cervical vertebrae, the thoracic spine with 12 thoracic vertebrae and the lumbar spine with five lumbar vertebrae. Below, follow the sacrum and coccyx built up from a total of nine vertebrae. At the age between 20 and 25 these nine vertebrae will fuse together and form one single bone.
Mobility & stability
The intervertebral discs lie between the vertebrae and connect them to the characteristic double-S shape. They have a gelatinous, soft, water-rich core which is coated by a cartilaginous fibre ring. This structure allows for the complex movements of the spine. In addition the discs can absorb shocks and prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. Muscles and ligaments provide for stability and controlled movement. They are attached at the two transverse processes and the spinous process.
Protection for sensitive nerves
A vertebra consists of an anterior solid vertebral body and the posterior vertebral arch with the facet joints and vertebral processes. The vertebral bodies act as the load carrier while, the vertebral arches form a protective canal where the spinal cord passes. Between each two vertebrae there is an intervertebral foramen, through which the spinal nerves exit to the left and right, thus leaving the area protected.
This finely tuned, multi-function system of mobility, stability and protection is exposed to various stresses in everyday life. Normal aging or accidents can cause functional damages to the spine. Immobility, pain and neurological symptoms may then occur.