What bones make up the human spine?
The human spinal is made up by a column usually consists of 33 vertebrae. There are 24 moveable vertebrae segments separated by discs. The moveable vertebrae are divided into three groups: there are generally seven cervical vertebrae in the neck (C1-C7), twelve thoracic vertebrae in the upper-mid back (T1-T12), and five lumbar vertebrae in the lower back above the pelvis (L1-L5). The lower nine are fused; five in the sacrum and the remaining four in the coccyx.
The vertebrae of the spine align so that their canals form a hollow, bony tube to protect the spinal cord as it extends from the brain towards the pelvis. The spinal cord is 40 to 50cm long and 1 to 1.5cm in diameter. Between the vertebrae are small spaces that allow nerve roots to exit on each side. These nerve roots join up further along to form spinal nerves which exit the spinal cord and connect to the various regions of the body.
The spinal cord is the “information highway of the body.” Messages are sent back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. This information includes touch, temperature, pain, joint position and signals telling muscles to move. In order for a message to go from the brain to the body, the message, or impulse, is passed from neuron to neuron. This process continues until the message reaches its final destination which may be a muscle, gland, or organ.
Your spinal cord is the most important structure between your body and your brain providing a vital link of information between the two. One of the jobs of the spinal column is to protect this vital link so that the rest of the body can work efficiently and effectively. Your spine really is your lifeline so make sure you take care of it today!