Your Spine is Special
8 Amazing Facts About Your Spine
At CURAVITA Health Group, we love our spines and your spines too! Our spine is the ultimate foundation. It provides structural support to our body. It protects our central nervous system and facilitates communication between our brain and the rest of our body. And it allows us to move! A healthy spine is the key to mobility, function, performance and overall well being.
Check out these 8 amazing facts about your spine!
- Your spine has two main jobs.
Your spine has a double-duty. Its first job is structural, biomechanical and functional. It is the support that allows you to stand, sit, walk, move, jump and do so much more. Your back is the anchor for your head, arms, and legs. With a close relationship to your trunk, it finds that perfect balance between mobility, stability, and control. The second and very important job of the spine is to house, protect and guide your spinal cord and spinal nerves. Your spinal cord communicates messages between your brain and the rest of your body through your spinal nerves.
- Your spine is composed of a lot of working parts.
Your spine is truly a sum of all of its parts. The average spine has approximately 220 ligaments, 100 joints, 120 muscles and 33 vertebrae (when we are born)! Some of those 33 individual vertebrae fuse together as your body develops to create your tailbone. So as an adult, you have (for the most part) seven vertebrae in your neck, twelve in your upper and mid-back, and five in your low back, plus your sacrum and coccyx.
- A baby’s spine begins to develop two months after conception.
The spine is one of the first bones to start to grow in utero. It is from the mesoderm, the middle layer of the embryo, that bones are developed. By month two the spine, skull, and clavicles start to grow. However, they are not yet hard bone. The skeletal structure that will one day support a baby’s entire body starts out as flexible cartilage. That flexible cartilage gradually ossifies and skeletal development continues into our early 20s.
- Your spine has an elongated S shape.
When you look at your spine from the side, you can see its four curves that create the shape of an elongated S. They are meant to be there and they are important to maintain. The c-shaped curves of the mid-back and tailbone are called kyphosis. They are the primary curves. They form during fetal development. The reversed c-shaped curves in the neck and low back are called lordosis. They are considered secondary curves as they develop when we learn to hold our head up, crawl and walk. Thanks to your spinal curves, your body weight is distributed evenly. You can absorb shock and minimize stress and strain on your body.
- Space travel makes you grow.
According to NASA, astronauts in space can grow up to 3 percent taller while in microgravity. New technology is providing more information on how the spine changes in space. This important research will aid in developing rehabilitation techniques and protocols as astronauts return to gravity and readjust to life on Earth.
- You are taller in the morning.
Do you ever feel that you’re taller in the morning? In a way, you are, but not by much. When you sleep, your spine is not under the tension and pressure that is required to hold you upright. Your intervertebral discs are replenished with fluid, your cartilage expands and your muscles relax. Even other joints in your body, like your knees, gain a little height when you sleep. But once you wake up and get on with your day, forces of gravity play their part again. That extra fluid in your spinal discs and joints is drained, your cartilage compresses and your muscles contract. And just like that, you have shrunk about a half-inch. Not to worry, you will regain that height when you sleep again at night.
- Your spine has an excellent memory.
Your spine remembers everything! This is why it can be hard to get out of the habit of bad posture. As you hunch over your computer or your phone, you are feeding that memory loop of your spine. But once you do make a habit of good posture, active muscles, and better mobility, your spine will remember it. Keep your spine healthy for the long-term by engaging in movement (strengthening and stretching), controlling your posture, and visiting your chiropractor, massage therapist, and physiotherapist!
- Your neck has a lot in common with a giraffe’s neck!
Giraffes are the tallest land animals. So how can your neck be similar to theirs? Well, cervical spines of both giraffes and humans have seven vertebrae. However, one vertebra in a giraffe’s neck can be over 10 inches, or 25.4cms long!
Your spine is unique and amazing! It allows you to move, work and play. Our team of chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists are here to help you make your spinal health a priority. To book an initial consultation or your next appointment with us, call 613.860.8600 for our Byward location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe location.