Look after your spine and it will look after you.
Your spine provides the main support for your body, allowing you to stand upright, bend, and twist, while protecting the spinal cord from injury. It is an extremely important and complex part of your body, yet many of us don’t think about it, until there’s a problem.
So, check out some of these amazing facts and learn more about your spine.
- The average spine has 220 ligaments, 100 joints, 120 muscles and 33 vertebrae. However, over time some of these vertebra fuse together to form coccyx and sacrum.
- The spine is extremely strong and can bear hundreds of kilograms of pressure.
- Humans and giraffes have the same number of bones in their necks.
- We are generally taller in the morning than at night because of the daily effect of gravity on the body. The weight of your body puts increasing pressure on the intervertebral disks, causing them to become more compressed and shortening the length of your spine. This is a normal process.
- The spine is so flexible it can bend far enough to form two thirds of a circle.
- Gravity can have a major impact on the spine. Humans tend to shrink as they age. After the age of 40, the average person can shrink by as much as a third of an inch every ten years.
- Your spine protects your spinal cord, which delivers messages throughout your body. The average spinal cord weighs around 35 grams.
- The first vertebrae in your neck is called the atlas. This is perhaps the most important vertebrae in the entire spine. It is responsible for carrying the weight of the head and was named after the character in Greek mythology who was forced to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders for all eternity.
- The spine has three natural curves that give it an “S” shape when viewed from the side. The curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and allow range of motion throughout the spinal column.
- Spinal fluid is pumped up and down the spine which is essential for flexibility. When there is a loss in the spinal curvature the spine is unable to absorb the shock and impact as effectively.
- One in four adults will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. For more information, read our guide: Back pain: Facts and Fiction
How to look after your spine
Keep active and maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise and movement is vital for a
healthy back. You don’t need to embark on an extreme fitness workout. Just walking more every day can be good for your spine and posture. If you spend most of your day sitting down, try to take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes. Stand up, stretch, change position and walk around a little.
Your back is there for you throughout your life. Look after it, so it can look after you.
Back care specialists at The Forge Clinic
Our osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractor at The Forge Clinic in Richmond are experienced in back care and back health and provide a wide range of treatments to relieve pain and restore movement, including spine manipulation and massage and tailored exercises. We also provide a 10 minute free spinal check* service to assess the health of your spine.