Five Simple Spine Facts
It am continually amazed at how big dinosaurs were. How their bones carried their huge weight. This is a picture of my 2 year old son (he is 37 inches tall) next to a piece of mid-back/thoracic vertebra from an Argentinosaurus (one of those longed neck plant eaters). They believe this may have been the largest animal to have ever walked the earth! I also found out that even with it being so big many of this dinosaurs bones had airspaces in them to make them lighter. This giant vertebra got me thinking about the human spine.
1) The average human has 33 vertebrae in their spine, some of which fuse together. Some people have extra and some are missing vertebrae. Feel extra lucky if you have the correct amount.
2) Our spine is great at shock absorption due to our discs and natural curves in our spine. Our discs, which make up 25% of our spine’s height, can expand and contract, this is also one of the reasons we loose height as we age. The natural curves in our spine help to redistribute impact.
3) Posture affects the load on our spine. Poor posture can increase the load on our spine 2-3x normal (or more) and put you at risk for various kinds of injuries and problems.
4) There are over 120 muscles that connect to the spine. This is why strengthening the right muscles is so important to help with back pain.
5) Back pain is the most common reason for a medical/doctors visit and it is the leading cause of disability claims in the US.
Control your posture, work on proper strengthening, increase muscle endurance, and learn appropriate stretching to help maintain spine health. The Physical Therapist at OSI can help you. Feel free to email me your questions or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.