Q: I have no knowledge of the spine but have seen family members do very well with chiropractic. Can you help me understand the spine a little more and what can go wrong with it?

A: Your spine is made up of three distinct areas, each playing a different, but vital role, in your body’s function. The structure of the spine, with its individual, articulated bones, each called a vertebra, allows us to bend and twist. The spine’s other key role is to protect the spinal cord, the thick cord of nerve tissue that runs from the brain and transmits information back and forth between the brain and the body’s parts through nerve roots that exit the cord at each level of vertebra.

The upper part of the spine, consisting of the top 7 vertebrae, is called the cervical spine. Its main job is to support the head, which weighs about 10 pounds. The cervical spine is very flexible, but also susceptible to injury from sudden motion, as in whiplash. Because of its close affiliation to very small and sensitive muscles of the neck, problems in the cervical spine can be associated to headaches, dizziness, neck pain, and even reoccurring ear infections.

The next 12 vertebrae make up the thoracic spine, running through the middle of the back and forming the back of the rib cage. It’s the least flexible part of the spine. Commonly the rib joint with the thoracic spine becomes stressed and can cause acute pain between the spine and shoulder blade. Other problems of this area would be hyperkyphosis, or humpback, and muscles tension. The thoracic spine can be associated with asthma and even some digestive problems.

In the lower part of the back are the five vertebrae that make up the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is really the workhorse of the spine. It’s connected to the pelvis and is where most of the weight-bearing and body movement takes place. Although it is the workhorse and the lumbar vertebra are relatively very large, it too can be injured by lifting a heavy object awkwardly, just as one example, so it is essential that we try to protect the lumbar spine. Disc problems here are common and can raise the most difficult to treat issues. Pelvic imbalance or misalignment can cause pain and create a foundation for the spine that leads to more problems. When something is wrong here, we usually are alerted by pain and muscle spam. Leg pain, foot pain, groin pain, and sometimes organs of the abdomen innervated by the lumbar spine nerves can show signs of problems with the lumbar region. Ask your chiropractor for more information about command central in the body, the spine.

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Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!

Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!