The 'spinal column' is one of the most vital parts of the human body. It supports our arms and legs and makes all of our movements possible. When the spine is injured and its function is impaired the consequences can be painful and even disabling. According to estimates, 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime. A small number of patients will develop chronic or degenerative spinal disorders that can be disabling.
Humans are born with 33 separate vertebrae. By adulthood, most have only 24, due to the fusion of the vertebra in certain parts of the spine during normal development. The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae
The anatomy of the spinal column is extremely well designed to serve many functions. All of the elements of the spinal column and vertebrae serve the purpose of protecting the spinal cord, which provides communication to the brain, mobility and sensation to and from the body, and movement, through the complex interaction of bones, ligaments and muscle structures of the back and the nerves that communicate to them. The back is also the powerhouse for the entire body, supporting our extremities and making all of the movements of our head, arms, and legs possible through complex muscle contraction and stabilization.