In celebration of World Spine Day 2016, here is some information about our amazing spines

 DID YOU KNOW…

The spinal cord is the highway for communication between the body and the brain. When the spinal cord is injured, the exchange of information between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted.

As babies, we have 33 vertebrae but as adults we have only 26. Four of the remaining bones fuse to make our coccyx and five fuse to create the back of the sacrum.

The spinal cord is only 1cm thick and does not continue to grow past the age of five.

Only the top 24 bones are moveable; the vertebrae of the sacrum and coccyx are fused.

giraffe-614141_1280Humans and giraffes have the same number of bones in their neck, despite a giraffe’s neck can be up to six feet long and the average human neck is less than five inches. Almost all mammals have seven vertebrae in their necks.

The cervical vertebrae in the neck are sometimes referred to as Atlas, referencing the Greek mytholocial Atlas who was burdened with carrying the world on the top of his shoulders (much like the neck supports and carries the weight of the head).

One quarter of the spine’s length is made up from cartilage.

astronautCartilage discs expand in the absence of gravity and astronauts returning from space may be 1.5-2 inches taller than when they left. Gravity’s effect on cartilage is also the cause of humans shrinking between a quarter of an inch and five inches every decade after the age of 40.

We are generally taller in the morning then at night because of the daily effect of gravity on the body. The weight of your body also puts increasing pressure on the intervertebral disks, causing them to become more compressed so that the length of your spine actually shortens.

The spine is so flexible it can bend far enough to form two thirds of a circle.

The spine is extremely strong and can bear the pressure of hundreds of kilograms.

The spinal cord has phenomenal memory, which is why it is important to treat it right from an early age. Having the proper posture and ensuring that your back is well taken care of are both very important to the spinal cord’s long term health.

Throughout this week we’ve put information on our website and Facebook page to help you optimise your spinal health, including an exercise programme put together by World Spine Day for you to incorporate into your daily routine. Check back through our posts to learn more.