Your spine is, pardon the obvious pun, the backbone of your nervous system. It’s responsible for protecting nerves that relay electrical currents to and from the brain. The spinal column contains a thick network of nerves that feed to various parts of the body. Since the spine carries this conduit, it’s crucial to keep the spine aligned and healthy. A misaligned spine can pinch a nerve, causing pain, and it can lead to a variety of physical afflictions. That’s why chiropractic alignments promote whole-body health. Let’s take a moment to better understand the spine, so that we can further understand the importance of proper alignment.
Each section of the spine contains nerves that are a neural channel to different sections of the body. The spine and can be split into four sections: The cervical section, the thoracic section, the lumbar section, and the sacrum & coccyx. Let’s take a look at the neuromuscular function of each section of spine.
The Cervical Vertebrae
Cervical vertebrae reside in the neck. Here, there are seven vertebrae which contain nerve bundles that communicate with all of the body below the neck. Nerves within the cervical vertebrae are routed to the upper portions of the body to control breathing, control shoulder movements, deltoids, biceps, triceps, wrists, and control some hand and finger motion. The cervical vertebrae also contain nerves that are routed down through the rest of the spinal column. Thus, an injury to cervical vertebrae can affect breathing, and shoulder and arm movement, as well as movement and pain reception for the lower body.
The Thoracic Vertebrae
The thoracic vertebrae comprise most of the central vertebrae along the spinal cord. In this section, there are 12 vertebrae which are located along the height of the human chest and abdominal areas. These vertebrae contain nerve bundles which interact with the hands and fingers, and several chest and abdominal muscles. Again, the thoracic vertebrae also house nerve bundles that serve portions of the body lower than the chest and abdomen. Therefore, an injury to thoracic vertebrae can affect the chest, abdomen, hands, and fingers, as well as movement and pain reception for muscle groups that are lower than the abdomen.
The Lumbar Vertebrae
The lumbar vertebrae are located near and just above the level of the hips. Here, five vertebrae distribute nerves to the hip muscles, knee muscles, ankle muscles, and toes. The lumbar vertebrae also carry a bundle of nerves that serve muscle clusters surrounding the sacrum and coccyx. Once again, an injury within the lumbar vertebra structure can hinder hip, knee, ankle, and toe movement, and it may cause pain in these areas. In addition, an injury in the lumbar region can cause pain and restrictions in the sacrum and coccyx regions.
The Sacrum & Coccyx
At the base of our spinal column, we have the sacrum and coccyx. These bones deliver a final bundle of nerves which interact with muscles in the legs, feet, bladder, and colon. Complications in the sacrum and coccyx can cause pain and malfunction throughout the aforementioned muscle groups.
In short, the entirety of your spine needs to be strong, healthy, and aligned to avoid pain, allow for full muscle movement, and maintain the health of the body from the neckline down. In addition, it’s important to note that a misalignment in the spine can trigger headaches; so in effect, the spine (while carrying the body’s weight) carries the weight of maintaining whole-body health. That’s why proper spinal alignment and strength is crucial to well-being, and that’s the precise focus of chiropractic treatment here at Health Advantage of Pasadena. We specialize in relieving spinal compression, relieving misaligned spines, fixing bulging discs, and disc herniation. We strive to relieve pain, and promote whole-body healthy through realignment of the spinal column as well as strengthening of the muscles supporting the spine. You can learn more about our overall chiropractic care services here. Or contact us today to schedule an appointment!