The Human Spine – anatomy

The Human SpineI thought I dwell about the human spine for a while as it is the primary focus of my job. Consisting of 24 movable bones the spine is truly an engineering masterpiece. As it connects the skull to the hips it is anatomically divided into 3 regions. In lay man terms we would call them neck, chest/mid back and then lower back, whereas medical litterateur names them cervical for neck, thoracic for chest/mid back and finally lumbar for the lower back. All these regions show distinct characteristics in the shape and function of the spinal vertebrae.

The lower back has the biggest bones as it handles the biggest loads and what may surprise many is that the region has very limited amount of rotation. Between the 5 lumbar vertebrae there is only 5-10 degrees of rotation; it perhaps explains why so many golf players have lower back pain. But, it provides excellent movement for bending forwards and backwards.

Chest region of the spine, consisting of 12 bones is a rather stable area. The ribcage limits the amount of movement between the bones and probably is the reason why people have the least amount of symptoms with the thoracic spine. The only time that when the thoracic spine is in real trouble, is when scoliosis affects the chest area.

Cervical spine is a highly mobile part of the spine. With its 7 bones it needs to allow the head to have a great deal of movement and yet manage to balance the load of the skull. As it is a compromise between spinal stability and mobility it is no wonder why so many people suffer from neck pain that is even aggravated the modern use of laptops in poor postures.

I will go through in far more detail the different spinal regions to share how I as a chiropractor look at the spine and what can be done to help and prevent many ailments related to the spine.

About the Author

Dr Will was the youngest student ever accepted into the Scandinavian Chiropractic College Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1997, became the youngest graduate from the college at the age of 21 and immediately began practicing as a chiropractor.