Radhika ApteHappy Customer
I really do appreciate all the advice I am getting on this site. It is helping me streamline my questions for when I next plan future for my family
Our spine or vertebral column is the back bone in non medical terms.
This is what you feel when your run a finger up and down the mid-line of the back.
The vertebral column is not one bone but is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae (singular = vertebra).
It starts at the base of the skull. The first vertebra is called atlas. It forms a joint with one of the skull bones calledoccipital bone (atlanto occipital joint).
The second vertebra is called axis. The other vertebrae do not have any specific name. The first seven vertebrae make up the cervical spine-that part of the vertebral column situated in the neck.
The last five cervical vertebrae are similar in appearance. Cervical vertebrae differ from other vertebrae is that they have a hole in the sides of the bony arch (known as transverse process). An artery called vertebral artery passes up through this hole into the skull.
The next twelve vertebrae constitute the thoracic spine-that part of the vertebral column in the region of chest. The thoracic spine is connected to the breast bone through the ribs.
The breast bone in front, spine at the back and the ribs together make up the rib cage which contains the lungs and heart.
You can easily feel the ribs an either side of the chest. Because of thick muscles on either side of the spine the ribs cannot be felt near the spine. But in the front you can feel them up to the breast bone. The thoracic vertebrae have smooth areas on their sides for forming joints with the ribs.
The next five vertebrae are called lumbar vertebrae and they form the lumbar spine-that part of the spine below the ribs. They are bigger then other vertebrae.
The next five vertebrae fuse to form a bony structure called sacrum. The sacrum along with the two hip bones on either side forms the pelvis. You can feel the hip bones on either side below the waist.
The last four vertebrae are rudimentary and fuse to form a bony piece called the coccyx. Sometimes there may be only three. Occasionally five bones are seen. It represents the tailbone of lower animals.
A vertebra consists of a central body which is situated in front and a bony arch at the back. There is a space between the body and the arch. When all the vertebrae are joined this space forms a continuous tunnel through which the spinal cord comes down.
There is a bony projection at the center of the arch. This is what we feel when we run a finger in the mid-line of the back. It is called the spinous process.
In between the bodies of any two vertebrae is a fibrous cushion called inter-vertebral disc. The bony arches have special areas called articular surfaces for forming joints with the arches of other vertebrae.
The vertebral column is not straight but has curves. These curves are well seen when we look at it from a side. The cervical curve has forward convexity. The thoracic spine has a curve with forward concavity. The lumbar curve is more marked in females and is convex forward. The last curve is know as the pelvic curve and has concavity facing forward and downward.
Keep your spine fit and healthy: Many people suffer from spine related problems because of lack of exercises and poor posture adopted while sitting. Do not slouch while sitting. Regular exercises help in strengthening the muscles acting on the spine and prevent stiffening of the joints.
Forward bending, backward bending, bending sideways both to left and right and turning the trunk clockwise and anti-clockwise are good exercises for the spinal muscles.
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