Infographic Functions of the Spine

The spinal column is a complex construct that includes a variety of nerves, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles woven together to form a remarkably strong structure.

CERVICAL SPINE

  • Protects the spinal cord
  • Supports the head and it’s movements
  • Facilitates blood flow to the brain
  • Contains 8 pairs of spinal nerves, which innervate the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand

THORACIC SPINE

  • Protects the spinal cord
  • Supports the neck
  • Anchors the rib cage
  • Transfers forces from the torso to the lower spine
  • Contains 12 pairs of spinal nerves, which control motor and sensory signals for the upper back, chest, and abdomen

LUMBAR SPINE

  • Protects the spinal cord and cauda equina
  • Supports and stabilizes the upper body
  • Allows truncal movements
  • Controls leg movements
  • Contains 5 pairs of spinal nerves, which merge with the lumbosacral plexuses and innervate the lower body

SACRUM AND COCCYX

  • Protect the cauda equina
  • Form the back wall of the pelvis and hip
  • Facilitate walking, running, and sitting
  • Contain a set of nerve roots, which innervate the lower body

The spinal structures can cause neck or back pain due to acute or chronic trauma. Effectively managing spinal pain can help improve function and prevent chronicity.

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