Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care

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<ul><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 1/6</p><p>Spine-Tingling Adventures: Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p>For heroes of the Old West, there was nothing worse than being branded as a spineless, no-good, lily-</p><p>livered coward. None of those adjectives feel great in the present, but spineless should be the worst of</p><p>them.</p><p>Your spinal column comprises 33 bones, known as vertebrae, stretching down the middle of your body,</p><p>from the base of your skull to your tailbone. All of this is surrounded by a series of ligaments, muscles,</p><p>tendons, and nerve roots.</p><p>Your spine is designed to be remarkably flexible and incredibly strong at the same time. It holds up your</p><p>entire bodys structure and provides you all the mobility to get through your day. The main role of your</p><p>spinal column is to protect your highly sensitive spinal cord, so strength is a necessity. The spinal cord</p><p>connects the brain to all the nerves in your body, so damage to the spine could lead to paralysis,</p><p>weakness in limbs, or other neurologic impairments.</p><p>Due to the spines complex structure and our tendencyto disregard its proper health, the spine often</p><p>produces back pain from injury, physical trauma, irritation in nerve roots, strained muscles, and more.</p><p>We tend to take our spines for granted, but with a look into our spinal anatomy, maybe we can gain a new</p><p>appreciation for our backbones.</p><p>In this article, youll learn about the different parts of your spine and how you can keep each one healthy.</p><p>The Cervical Spine</p><p>The cervical spine, better known as the neck, comprises seven vertebrae, labeled C1 through C7. The firstof these is known as the atlas, while the second vertebra is called the axis. The joint where the axis and</p></li><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 2/6</p><p>atlas connect also happens to be where your spine and the base of your skull meet, giving you the ability</p><p>to nod and move your head side to side. Aside from the movement, your neck plays the important role of</p><p>supporting the weight of your head and protecting the nerves that go directly from the brain to the rest of</p><p>your body.</p><p>A crick in your neck is often caused by sudden forcemost commonly whiplashor a muscle strain.</p><p>Aside from careful driving, the best thing you can do to avoid neck pains is to practice proper posture,</p><p>especially at work. Invest inergonomic furniturefor both your home and work that supports your head</p><p>and neck.</p><p>Eye fatigue also causes strain in your neck. Make sure your monitor isnt too faraway or too low or high.</p><p>The center of your monitor should be at or just below eye level. Try to eliminate any direct glare, and</p><p>consider switching out harsh overhead lights for a desk lamp. If things are looking blurry, consult an</p><p>optometrist to get a pair of cool specs for better sight.</p><p>For those times when your neck is feeling particular tight or sore, try these stretches:</p><p> Seated neck release:Sitting in your chair, feet flat on the ground, extend your right arm along theright side of the chair. Place your left hand on your head and gently tilt your head to the left. Pull</p><p>slightly with your left hand to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then release and switch to</p><p>the other side. Behind the back:Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands behind your</p><p>backside and use your left hand to grab onto your right wrist. Pull down and slightly away from</p><p>your body to straighten out your right arm. Slowly lower your left ear to your shoulder to increase</p><p>the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch.</p><p> Seated heart opener:Sit on the floor on your heels. Place your hands flat on the floor about teninches behind you. Your fingers should be pointed away from you. Press your hands down to arch</p><p>your back, lift your chest, and push your hips into your heels. Tilt your head back to increase the</p><p>stretch. Hold for 30 seconds before releasing.</p><p>The Thoracic Spine</p><p>The thoracic spine comprises twelve vertebrae labeled T1 to T12, making up your upper back. Connected</p><p>to each of these vertebrae is a set of ribs, all of which make up the rib cage. The rib cage protects your</p><p>heart, lungs, and other vital organs and provides all the support and stability for your upper back.</p><p>The tradeoff: your upper back has next to no mobility, which actually turns out to be a good thing.</p><p>Because its not designed for motion, your upper back and thoracic spine rarely get injured. However, you</p><p>still can experience pain in your upper back due to muscle strain or irritation, which can then lead to</p><p>stiffness, bad posture, scoliosis, or a hunchback.</p><p>Fortunately, there are aton of exercisesfrom pull-ups to push-upsto keep the muscles surrounding</p><p>your thoracic spine nice and healthy, but one of the more relaxing options is deep tissue massage.</p><p>Massages work out the kinks in your back while relaxing your state of mind and reducing your stress.</p><p>Invest in a foam roller for some self massage or consult a massage therapist.</p><p>The Lumbar Spine</p><p>The lumbar spine, or lower back, consists of just five vertebraeL1 to L5. Unlike the immobile thoracic</p><p>region, the lumbar region is all about flexibility and movement. On top of that, the lumbar spine bears all</p>http://thebackstore.com/http://thebackstore.com/http://thebackstore.com/http://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/get-big/5-exercises-for-a-strong-upper-backhttp://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/get-big/5-exercises-for-a-strong-upper-backhttp://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/get-big/5-exercises-for-a-strong-upper-backhttp://thebackstore.com/</li><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 3/6</p><p>of the weight of your upper body, which is why back injuries tend to center around the lower back. Most</p><p>of the motion is in the L4-L5 joint, so that area tends to wear down faster and take the most weight.</p><p>Lower back pain is most often caused by strain or trauma to the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues</p><p>in the lower back. To ease lower back pain, try applying ice or heat to the region. Ice works to reduce</p><p>inflammation to remedy deep pain, while heat increases the supply of blood, and thus oxygen, to the back</p><p>Blood supply is a big factor in relieving pain and speeding up recovery. Luckily, the soft tissues in your</p><p>lower back already receive a ready flow of blood, but you can facilitate the process through:</p><p> Regular exercise, which keeps your heart rate up to get precious blood to all parts of your body. A healthy diet, particularly one that does away with trans fats, added sugars, and simple carbs.</p><p>You want to give your lower back a steady stream of energy, and the best way to do that is by</p><p>consuming complex carbsfruits, veggies, whole grainsthroughout your day.</p><p> Smoking cessation.Studies show that nicotine constricts blood vessels, inhibiting the flow ofblood throughout your body.</p><p>If you work in an office, its probably time to evaluate your chair, too.Ergonomic office chairswill provide</p><p>proper lumbar support to keep your back comfortable and prevent strain and injury down the road.</p><p>Check outOSHAs workstation checklistto create an ergonomic workspace and see what difference it</p><p>makes in your mood, productivity, and comfort throughout the week.</p><p>The Sacral Region</p><p>The sacral region sits just below the lumbar spine and is actually presented as one large bone structure</p><p>comprised of five fused vertebrae. The sacrum is shaped like a triangle and acts as the attachment point</p><p>for your pelvis, thus connecting your upper and lower halves.</p><p>The most common condition in this region is sacroiliac joint dysfunction, which causes pain on one side</p><p>of the lower back that radiates down the leg, sometimes all the way down to the ankle or foot. Women are</p><p>more susceptible to this condition because they have wider, shorter sacral regions. No one is quite sure of</p>http://thebackstore.com/shop-by-product/office-chairs.htmlhttp://thebackstore.com/shop-by-product/office-chairs.htmlhttp://thebackstore.com/shop-by-product/office-chairs.htmlhttps://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist.htmlhttps://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist.htmlhttps://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist.htmlhttps://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist.htmlhttp://thebackstore.com/shop-by-product/office-chairs.html</li><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 4/6</p><p>the cause, but the pain likely comes from either too much movement or not enough movement in the</p><p>sacroiliac joint.</p><p>The best stretch for the region is simply called thesacrum stretch.To perform this stretch:</p><p> Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart then slowly position yourself into a low squat. Weave your arms between your legs such that your elbows are under your knees. Grab your ankles from behind. The back of your thighs should be resting on your upper arms and</p><p>elbows.</p><p> Drop your hips, tuck in your tailbone, and bring your chin to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds and release.</p><p>Stretching your sacral region will prevent injury to the area and reduce tension in your legs and lower</p><p>back.</p><p>The Coccyx</p><p>The coccyx, or tailbone, is a vestige from our primal prehistoric ancestors. The coccyx is the last bit of</p><p>spine and is composed of four fused vertebrae. We dont need tails for balance or hanging from trees, but</p><p>our tailbones still play an important role, as an attachment point for a variety of ligaments, muscles, and</p><p>tendons and acting as a support for when you sit down.</p><p>Coccyx pain, or coccydynia, often comes from falling on your tailbone, childbirth, pregnancy, or obesity</p><p>the tailbone takes your bodys weight when you sit down, so too much weight puts a lot of pressure on</p><p>your little tailbone. Its even worse for women. A womans coccyx is rotated and points backward.</p><p>The good news is that most coccyx pain isnt serious and should go away on its ownthough you should</p><p>consult a doctor if your tailbone suffered severe physical trauma. The bad news is that sitting with</p><p>coccydynia is, well, unpleasant. Along with ergonomic furniture, you may want to purchase a doughnut</p><p>cushion to sit on. Doughnut cushions have a hole cut into its center to take pressure off the tailbone when</p><p>sitting down.</p><p>You should also drink a lot of water and eat foods high in fiber for your visits to the bathroom. The last</p><p>thing you want to do when you have coccyx pain is strain yourself on the toilet.</p><p>The Spinal Cord and Nerve Roots</p><p>The spinal cord is a long, thin bundle of nerves and cells that extends from the brain and through the</p><p>cervical and thoracic spine. At the bottom of the thoracic spine, the spinal cord splits into a series of nerve</p><p>roots. This series of nerves is what connects your brain to the rest of your body, allowing you to breathe,</p><p>kick a ball, type at your computer, and the other things you do.</p><p>Nerve pain along the spine manifests in various ways, but the two main causes are a pinched nerve and</p><p>disc pain. With a pinched nerve, the fluid leaking out of your spinal discs pinches a nerve, which causes</p><p>pain in other parts of the body. For example, a pinched nerve in the lower back may cause pain in your</p><p>leg. With a degenerated disc, the disc itself causes pain.</p><p>Taking care of your spinal cord and its nerve roots is as easy as taking care of your entire nervous system</p><p>Eat foods with plenty of vitamin D and vitamin B12 along with healthy fats. These are essential for a</p><p>healthy myelin sheath, which acts as the conduit for all the signals and synapses your brain sends your</p><p>body. Make sure you exercise your nervous system as well. Writing is particularly helpful as it requires</p>http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/biking/road-biking/The-Best-Yoga-Poses-For-Cyclists-Sacrum.htmlhttp://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/biking/road-biking/The-Best-Yoga-Poses-For-Cyclists-Sacrum.htmlhttp://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/biking/road-biking/The-Best-Yoga-Poses-For-Cyclists-Sacrum.htmlhttp://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/biking/road-biking/The-Best-Yoga-Poses-For-Cyclists-Sacrum.html</li><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 5/6</p><p>the use of major motor and sensory pathways. Try to spend 15 minutes per day writing on paper as</p><p>neatly as possible.</p><p>Back Muscles</p><p>The spine itself is just part of the equation. All throughout the back are a series of complex muscle groupsthat support the spine, hold you upright, and give you the ability to twist and turn and move all around.</p><p>The three types of muscles around the spine:</p><p> Extensor muscles: Attached to the back of the spine and allow you to stand and lift objects. Flexor muscles: Attached to the front of the spine and allow for bending forward, lifting, flexing,</p><p>and arching your back.</p><p> Oblique muscles: These are located along the spines sidesand allow for proper posture andtrunk rotation.</p><p>Pain in your muscles comes from various sources. Stress is a big one as it causes your muscles to tighten</p><p>up. Try to find a constructive way to reduce your stress, from breathing exercises and meditation to</p><p>learning a musical instrument.</p><p>Tight hamstrings also contribute to back muscle aches. Your hamstrings are the large muscles on the</p><p>backs of your thighs. Research suggests that tight hamstrings limit the motion of your pelvis, which gets</p><p>transferred to the sacral region and the lumbar spine, increasing stress on your lower back muscles.</p><p>Stretch out your hamstrings and avoid wearing high heels.</p><p>Your spine plays a key role in your bodys overall health, wellness, and comfort. It will stay strong as long</p><p>as you take care of it. Do your best to lead a spine-conscious lifestyle with a good diet, regular exercise,and ergonomic positioning at home and work. Consult a specialist immediately for any serious issues.</p></li><li><p>8/13/2019 Spine-Tingling Adventures Spinal Anatomy and Care</p><p> 6/6</p><p>Images:</p><p>- pg 192 Skull and Spine byperpetualplumis licensed underCC BY 2.0- Herman Miller Aeronfromhttp://www.thebackstore.com- Life and health; a text-book on physiology for high schools, academies and normal schools</p><p>(c1910)byCircaSassyis licensed under CC BY 2.0</p><p>Sources</p><p>- http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/scifacts.html- http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/cervical-spine-anatomy-and-neck-pain- http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/lifestyle/health/x915434910/Amy-Senese-PT-DPT-Tips-</p><p>for-maintaining-a-healthy-neck</p><p>- http://www.fitsugar.com/Stretches-Sore-Neck-Pictures-8692689?slide=1&amp;image_nid=8702746- http://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/get-big/5-exercises-for-a-strong-upper-back- https://www.panadol.co.uk/Back-and-Neck/Articles/Articles/Repetitive-Strain-on-the-</p><p>Shoulders-and-Upper-Back/</p><p>- http://saveyourself.ca/articles/spot-11-erector-spinae-upper.php- http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/living-with-low-back-pain-11/back-pain-at-home- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002119.htm- http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/sacrum-sacral-region- http://www.livestrong.com/article/340339-the-best-back-stretches-for-the-sacral-area/- http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hipandgroininjuries/a/tailbone-pain.htm- http://www.spine-health.com/c...</p></li></ul>

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