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Spine Anatomy: What You Need To Know

dr cronen tampa fl

Quick Facts About the Spine:

  • Humans are born with 33 vertebrae. By adulthood, we only have 24 vertebrae.
  • The nerves at the base of the spinal column are called cauda equina, which is Latin for “horse’s tail”
  • There are over 200 muscles in the back

Main Functions of the Spine

The spine is one of the most important parts of the human body. This vital element supports our body weight and trunk, making all movement possible. Some of the main functions of the spine include:

  • Protecting the spinal cord
  • Shock absorption
  • Movement
  • Balance
  • Upright posture

Anatomy of the Spine

The regions of the spine all serve one main function: protecting the spinal cord. The spinal cord provides a communication pathway between our brain and sensations felt throughout the body in the bones, ligaments and nerves. When the spinal cord is damaged, neurological functioning is impaired. This can result in mild pain or in more severe case, debilitating conditions requiring therapy or surgery to repair. The various parts of the spine all serve a unique purpose. When these functions are combined, the spine allows us to walk, talk, sit and more.

The spine has three main parts: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine.

Cervical Spine

The upper part of the spine is considered the cervical spine. This area is made-up of the top seven vertebrae towards the head and neck, which support neck function and mobility. This part of the spine is also responsible for protecting the spinal cord and arteries. The seven cervical vertebrae are numbered C1 to C7.

Thoracic Spine

The upper middle back is known as the thoracic spine. This part of the spine has twelve vertebrae. The main function of the thoracic spine is to protect the heart and lungs, as well as providing support for the rib cage. The twelve vertebrae are labeled T1 to T12.

Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine is the area most commonly known as the lower back. The main function of this region is to provide support for our body mass, allowing us to carry heavy objects and support our body weight. The lumbar spine is made-up of five vertebrae, labeled L1 to L5.

Your Spine Health with Dr. Cronen

For patients suffering from back pain, it’s helpful to understand the science behind various parts of the spine. This knowledge can be beneficial when describing areas of pain or discomfort, as well as to track your progress during treatment. Dr. Cronen is a leader in spinal deformity and reconstructive surgery throughout the United States. His skills and experience can help restore spine health for patients suffering from any type of spinal deformity or condition.

To schedule a spine health consultation with Dr. Geoffrey Cronen, click here to request an appointment in North Tampa or Wiregrass, Florida.

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