Interesting Spine Facts
Here are a few interesting spine facts that will change the way you will look at your back.
The spine has a ton of working parts:
- There are over 120 muscles in the spine.
- The spinal column has about 220 individual ligaments that keep the vertebrae interconnected to keep the spine, the nerves and the spinal cord, stable.
- There are approximately 100 joints in the spine. These joints allow for the spine’s extreme flexibility and range of motion.
- Cartilage makes up 25% of the spine’s length—a very impressive type of tissue.
The First Vertebra of the Spine Is Named After a Greek God:
- The very first cervical vertebra is referred to as the Atlas, also the name of the mythological figure known for carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. This bone is so-named because it can support the weight of the skull.
Your bone count gets smaller as you age:
- At birth we have 270 bones. But as adults we only have 206. Also as babies we are born with 33 vertebrae, but by the time we reach adulthood we only have 26. Four vertebrae combine to make up the tailbone and five vertebrae fuse to form the back of the pelvis.
Humans and long-necked giraffes share one thing in common—seven cervical vertebrae:
- Very interesting if you take into consideration the giraffe’s height; however, this demonstrates well the flexibility and versatility of the spinal structure.
Gravity can impact the spine in a major way:
- Humans shrink as they age. After the age of 40, the average person shrinks about 1/3 of an inch every ten years. As we age, gravity’s pull causes cartilage to loose water and shrink, causing our bodies to contract as well. This explains why Grandma is getting shorter. The reverse works too.
People come back from space taller:
- Astronauts returning from space tend to be three percent taller than their original height. Without gravity, cartilage expands; so you can come actually back from your space adventure taller than you were before. This explains why astronauts gain approximately two inches of height as their exposure in space and microgravity allowed their cartilage discs to expand.
Sitting hunched over at your desk can put major pressure on your spine:
- Sitting in a hunched-over position puts around 200 pounds of pressure on your lower back or lumbar spine. This is why so many Americans, especially those with office jobs can have low back pain.
- The spine is very strong. In fact it can handle hundreds of kilograms of pressure. This is a good thing too, because something as simple as lying flat on your back with your knees elevated can put up to 25 pounds of pressure on your spine.
Your spine protects your spinal cord, which delivers messages throughout your body.
Motor Accidents are a Leading Cause of Spinal Injuries:
- The most common cause of spinal cord injuries is motor accidents. While over 35 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by road accidents, spinal injuries after the age of 65 are mostly a result of falls.
Back pain is among the most common reasons for a physician visit:
- Approximately 80% of Americans will suffer from this condition at some point during their lives.
- Back pain in also a leading cause behind disability claims in the United States.
20 Facts About the Spine, Georgia Spine & Neurosurgery Center; last accessed 6/28/2019
The Top Ten Spine Facts Every Person Should Know, 100% Chiropractic; last accessed 6/28/2019
10 Incredible Facts About the Human Spine, The Spine Institute; last accessed 6/28/2019
Knowing Your Spine Anatomy by Long Van, D.C.
Understanding Nerve Pain Through Spine Anatomy by Luz Senan, D.C.
Your Spine and the Nervous System by Deric D’Agostino, D.C.
Look to the Spine! by Deric D’Agostino