When you are born, you have 33 bones in your spine. This changes as you age because some of the bones fuse together. Revive Medical Center is a top chiropractor in Lawrenceville, GA, and we can help you keep your spine healthy, flexible, and pain-free. Let’s talk about the anatomy of the spine and how many bones are in each section of the crucial nerve-protecting column.
What Does the Spine Do?
The spinal column is also called the backbone, although it should be called the backbones because there are many different bones that make up the spine. Aside from flexibility and movement, the primary job of your spine is to protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a collection of delicate nerve fibers that start at the base of your brain and run all the way down to the small of your back. It’s a communication conduit for the brain to the rest of your body, which makes it one of the most crucial body parts.
How Many Bones Make Up the Spine?
You’ve probably seen models of the spine or a real or fake skeleton. If you remember what the spine looked like, you remember small oval bones stacked up on top of each other. The spinal cord runs through the center of these bones, and, in individual sections, your spine is made up of
- 7 cervical bones in the neck
- 12 thoracic bones in the chest
- 5 lumbar bones in the back
- 4 sacrum bones in the behind
- 1 tailbone
In other words, your spine is broken down into five parts: the cervix, thorax, lumbar, sacrum, and tailbone. Each individual bone is call a vertebra. When combined, they are referred to as vertebrae. Any part of your spine can be injured, including the tailbone, and cause significant pain or worse.
Let’s Talk More About the Vertebrae
The first vertebra in the spine is the Atlas. This is the bone that supports your head. No matter where it is located in your spine, the outer portion of the vertebra is called the body, and the inner portion, the arch, is what aligns each vertebra together to protect the spinal cord. The arched vertebra forms the spinal canal through which the spinal cord runs.
Cushions between the vertebrae prevent the bones from rubbing against each other and causing spinal misalignment and severe pain. These cushions are called “intervertebral discs” or, technically, “intervertebral fibrocartilage.” The discs are constructed of cartilage, fibers made of collagen, and water. The vertebrae and intervertebral discs are held together by ligaments.
What Are the Most Common Spinal Injuries?
You can literally break your back – the spine – in an accident. Depending on the severity of the break, you might end up paralyzed because the spinal cord will be damaged, too. The ligaments that hold the vertebrae and discs together can also tear, which causes severe pain and misalignment. As you age, the intervertebral discs can also slip, again, causing severe pain and misalignment.
Revive Medical Center in Lawrenceville, GA, can restore your spine’s alignment in most cases. Call us today if you suffer from back pain or other spinal conditions.