Function and parts of the spine

Our spine is prepared to adapt to having two girdles (scapula and pelvis) and an upright head and continued with the rest of the axial skeleton, in the same axis. Each of the units comprising a spine called vertebrae, and these are articulated to each other by intervertebral discs, in a joint with little movement called amphiarthrosis (the first 2 cervical discs have not either between them or with respect to skull).

These discs are composed of an outer ring of fibrous cartilage, and a softer inner structure and luscious, very elastic called the nucleus pulposus.

With these disks, it allows the various movements of the spine and absorb vertical shocks (both above and below, impact with the ground).

We can point as functions of the spine:
- To be the axis of our skeleton. Give a specific height to our trunk.

- Being the center connector between our focal point and the rest of the body, connecting the head with the rest of the body, both anatomical muscle, etc.. (metamerización through our entire body. This is very interesting to study nerve and muscle diseases, as well as evolutionary developments of our body), connected through the belts with the extremities (arms and legs), and nervous connection as it passes through the spinal cord, which connects all our being.

- Has the necessary flexibility, adding the small movements occurring vertebra by vertebra, making a summation of great possibilities, in order to allow our bodies to always be ready and alert to the outside, as it gives rise to fast movements and varied adaptations .

- The curvatures are important because they increase their strength, help maintain balance in the upright position, absorb the blows that occur while walking and help protect the spine fracture.

Our spine has 4 curves:
- 2 concave called lordosis. The cervical and lumbar.

- 2 convex called kyphosis. The dorsal and sacral coccygeus.

At birth, we do not have any of these curves, we have only slightly convex curvature, which would be a continuum throughout the spine.

The first curve shown is the cervical lordosis, at a time when babies begin to lift his head and therefore to exercise the muscles of the neck to get stronger, the bones reset and put the best traction and torque balance pressure loads. Following an entry in the column, this lordosis, more pronounced below the next corner would be the dorsal kyphosis.

The following curvature in the lumbar lordosis, which appears at the time we started walking. The column is located and to be on foot, our pelvis and legs begin to exercise and gain importance. The muscles are strengthened and the body adjusted to the new position. This curvature is deeper than the cervical lordosis, since the pressure and weight that holds our column in this area is greater.

Anatomically, each of the vertebrae also denote these efforts and strengths to bear in this area becoming more robust, wide and short their processes. Was completed in this way to keep adult curvatures.

These curves may be accentuated by various conditions, resulting in lordosis (especially lower back) and kyphosis (the back). The curves also correspond to changes of vertebral column areas, ie the type of each one of its units, the vertebrae.

Spinal cord
Given the connective nerve of our body, spine encloses and protects something so important and necessary as is the spinal cord. Overall, the spinal cord and spinal nerves contain neural circuits involved in some of the fastest reactions of the organism to environmental changes.

In addition to processing the reflexes, the spinal cord is also the place where nerve impulses are integrated in it or arising that come from the periphery and brain. In addition, the spinal cord is the highway through which nerve impulses travel engines to the spinal nerves.

It is located inside the spinal cord in the spinal canal (spinal canal), which gives you protection, both the bone structure as the strong ligaments, meninges and cerebrospinal fluid.

It has an almost cylindrical, slightly flattened anteroposteriorly. In the adult, extends from the medulla to the upper edge of the second lumbar vertebra. In newborns reached until the third or fourth lumbar vertebra. During the 1st children both the bone and spine grow in length as part of the overall growth of the body. By 4 or 5 stops this growth by elongation.

As the spine continues to grow in length, the bone does not occupy the entire length of the spinal canal. The length of the spinal cord of adult between 42 and 45 cm and its diameter is about 2 cm in the mid-dorsal region, somewhat higher in the lower cervical (cervical enlargement) and lumbar meda (lumbar enlargement) and weaker in the lower corner (filum terminale).

Additional information on "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology" by Tortora.

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