The Anatomy of Your Spinal Cord

What is the function of my spinal cord? 

Your spinal cord plays many different functions in the body. First, your spinal cord is the major pathway between your brain and your peripheral nervous system. 

Receptors in your skin send information to the spinal cord through spinal nerves that are located in the dorsal root ganglion and enter the spinal cord through the dorsal root. Some nerve fibers continue to function in the spinal column and perform tasks while others continue on to communicate with the brain.  

What is the spinal cord made out of? 

In addition to the countless nerves of the spinal cord, the spinal cord has at least 220 ligaments, 120 muscles, 100 joints and 25% of the spinal cord is made up of cartilage. 

The spinal cord is around 1 centimeter thick and stops growing past the age of 5 years old.

Human beings have 33 vertebrae when they’re born but as we grow, the bones in the sacral region join to form the sacrum, and the bones in the coccygeal region join to form the coccyx, leaving us with 24 vertebrae.

In men, the length of the spinal cord is around 45 cm and in women, the length is around 43 cm.

What are the different parts of my spine?  

The cervical spine, also referred to as the neck, supports the weight of the head and protects nerves that come from the brain and go to the rest of the body. 

The thoracic spine, or your upper back, is made up of 12 vertebrae’s that are anchored by the ribs. The thoracic spine offers stability and allows very little movement as it protects your vital organs. 

The lumbar spine, or your lower back, is the most frequently injured portion of your spine. It carries the weight of the torso and is extremely flexible, therefore, more prone to injury. 

The sacral region, or the very bottom of your spine, is basically only a bone called the sacrum. It is a triangle shaped bone that connects the rest of your body to your spinal cord. 

What are signs of spinal cord damage? 

There are many different signs pointing to spinal damage. First of all, if you experienced a bad fall, a car accident, or think you may have injured yourself in some way, seek medical help immediately. 

Second of all, just because you’re not experiencing back pain, does not mean you have spinal damage. In fact, pain is the last symptom of injury. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have spinal or nerve damage. 

  • Nerve in your arms or legs are irritated 
  • You have pain around your spinal area 
  • You are experiencing numbness in your arms of legs
  • You have a constant headache 
  • You have trouble moving or exercising due to body aches 

The spine, as I have stated, is of the utmost importance in our growth, development and in every day function. Your chiropractor knows how to take care of your spine and wants to help you do the same. Visit The Joint today, no appointment necessary! 

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.