Bones of the Back
As we are aware, our body is formed around a structure of bones called the skeleton. The bones of our body have more than one job. They protect the important inner organs of our body like heart, lungs and intestines. They give support and shape to our body. Without bones, we would not be able to sit, stand, walk or run.
There are more than 300 bones in the body of a newborn infant. As the child grows, some bones join together to form larger bones. There are 206 bones in the body of an adult person.
Bones are living things, so they are able to grow and repair themselves. Many bones have a hollow inside. Inside the bones, there is a material called bone marrow, which makes new blood cells.
The bones of the back are a very important part of the skeleton. If you examine the back view of a skeleton, you will see that there are two kinds of bones in the back part of the skeleton. They are the shoulder blade and the bones of the spine. Science uses the word ‘scapula’ for shoulder blade.
Then there is the spine. The spine is a column of ring-like bones, piled one upon the other. Each of these bones is individually called vertebra, so the spine as a group of bones is also called vertebrae. The spinal column is made up of 33 vertebrae.
The spine runs from the base of the head to the bones of hip. It is because of our spine that we are able to keep an upright position. The spine is a flexible set of bones, so it allows the body to bend and turn.
Scientists divide the 33 vertebrae into five groups according to their position. The top seven vertebrae are called cervical vertebrae. They have the job of supporting the head and the neck. The next 12 are called thoracic vertebrae. These are attached to the rib cage. Next are the five lumbar vertebrae. These are the bones that carry the weight of our upper body. The lowest parts of our vertebrae are called sacrum (five fused vertebrae) and coccyx (four fused vertebrae).
The vertebrae are cushioned by intervertebral discs sandwiched between them. These discs are not as hard as the bones, but all the same they are made of tough material.
We saw that the vertebrae are ring-like bones. These bones are arranged in such a way that the holes of these rings connect to form a pipe. Through this pipe, a group of nerves called the spinal cord passes.
The spinal cord is a very important group of nerves. It has the job of carrying messages between the brain and other parts of the body. Now our brain is the supercomputer that tells every part of the body what it has to do. If the spinal cord is damaged, the brain gets disconnected with other parts of the body so the body ends up not knowing what to do.
It is the spinal column of bones that protects the spinal cord from damage. It is a very strong set of bones. However most of us take our spine for granted. Bad posture, accidents and the stress and strain of everyday life can cause imbalances in the spine.
Sometimes one or more bones in the spine may get misaligned, straining the nerves in the area. This in turn leads to the body part connected to that nerve not working properly. If you ease the strain on the nerve by putting the bone back to the right position, it automatically helps the nerve and the body part it goes to. This is what chiropractors do. A chiropractor restores the correct position of vertebrae, thus helping to heal the body naturally.