Regions of the Spine

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The spine has four regions. Starting at the cranium and going down to the tailbone, they are called the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine, and the sacral spine. Each region of the spine plays an important role in supporting our body with overall health and well-being. Any misalignment or problem with the spinal regions can impact the body’s normal functions and lead to health issues.

Cervical Spine

The cervical spine is the neck region, and it has seven vertebrae numbered C1 through C7. This part of the spine offers a wide range of motion since it is what allows you to tilt, nod, and turn your head. The cervical spine connects your skull to the mid-back, protects the brain stem, and supports the skull.

Thoracic Spine

The thoracic spine makes up the middle back and has twelve vertebrae numbered T1 through T12. This portion of the spine connects the cervical and lumbar spine, and the rib cage is attached firmly to the thoracic spine as the 12 pairs of ribs attach to each of the 12 vertebrae. This provides more stability to the upper back.

Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine is the lower back, and it consists of five vertebrae numbered L1 through L5. They are the largest bones of the spine and are able to bear most of your body’s weight.  The main motion of the lumbar spine is bending forward and backward.  Since the low back moves much more than the upper back and carries the full weight of the upper body, along with the stress of lifting and carrying items, it is more likely to get injured and is the most common area of complaint when it comes to back pain.

Sacral Spine

The sacrum is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and form a triangle shape. They are numbered S1 through S5. Below the sacrum is the coccyx, also known as the tailbone. The coccyx is a set of four fused bones and bears our weight when we sit.

When studying a healthy spine, we see four distinct curves when viewed from the side. Forward curves will be present in the neck and low back. This is called normal lordosis. Backward curves will be present in the mid-back and chest region and the hip area. When the curves are either too extreme or too little, it can inhibit normal body functions, bring about illness or disease, and cause pain and dysfunction.

Many possible health conditions are impacted by any curvature problems within specific regions of the spine. One study showed that “patients with spinal curvature disorders have a significantly higher risk of developing injury than patients without spinal curvature disorders.”   Any time a disc is out of alignment or compressed, the communication within the nervous system is disrupted. For example, when there is a misalignment in the cervical spine, you may suffer from headaches, allergies, high blood pressure, or sinus trouble. When there is a misalignment within the thoracic spine, one may experience stomach trouble, such as indigestion or heartburn frequently. Within the lumbar spine, misalignments can bring about problems such as sciatica, poor circulation in the legs, and menstrual issues.

At Greater Life Chiropractic, Dr. Grant Lisetor will take the time to locate any problems with your natural spinal curvature or any misalignments that may be contributing to underlying health issues. Contact us today for a spinal exam and explore the benefits of visiting a Charlotte chiropractor regularly.  

Sources

Kuo, Yen-Liang et al. “Association between spinal curvature disorders and injury: a nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study.” BMJ open vol. 9,1 e023604. 17 Jan. 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30782710/

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