Common Injuries and Treatments
The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae separated into four sections - cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. The cervical spine (C-spine) consists of 7 vertebrae; the thoracic spine (T-spine) consists of 12 vertebrae; the lumbar spine (L-spine) consists of 5 vertebrae; and the sacrum consists of 5 fused bones that form a triangular shaped base to the spine with the tailbone (coccyx) hanging off the bottom of the sacrum
The spine has 3 natural curves to help dissipate forces on the body and allow for maximum mobility and protection of the spinal column. In the cervical and lumbar regions, there is a forward “c” curve called a "lordosis". In the thoracic region, there is a backwards “c” curve called a "kyphosis".
Located in between each vertebrae in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions are pieces of tough connective tissue called discs. These discs are made up of two kinds of material: the annulus fibrosis (which is the tough outer covering designed to protect the disc) and the nucleus pulposus (which is the inner material designed to provide shock absorption). The disc is similar to a jelly donut with a tougher outer material (the annulus fibrosis) and a softer center (the nucleus pulposus). Along with the natural curves, the discs also help to disperse forces placed on the body through everyday activities.
The spinal column also helps protect most of the nerves that move our arms and legs and give us feeling (light touch, pin prick, warm/cold) in our skin. As the nerves descend from the base of the skull, they are protected by the bones and ligaments of the spine until they exit in small spaces between the individual vertebrae to go to specific muscles and areas of the body.