Chiropractic Care and the Anatomy of the Spine


The spine is comprised of 33 separate bone vertebrae that are stacked on top of one another. This permits an upright standing posture that permits bending, twisting all the time supporting significant weight and protection of the spinal column.

Pain to the spine if any other the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments or nerves are affected by strain or injury or disease.


The Vertebrae of the spine is divided into 5 groups.

Only the top 24 bones are movable.

Vertebrae of the sacrum and coccyx are fused.

Illuminated spine in body

Cervical (neck)

The vertebrae C1 thru C7 are the neck vertebrae that supports the 10lb skull and has the greatest range of motion.

C1 is connected directly to the skull and is responsible for the nodding motion.

C2 is the second vertebrae and is responsible for the pivot motion from side to side.

Thoracic (Mid Back)

The function of this set of bones is to support the rib cage for the protection of internal organs such as the heart and lungs.

The thoracic spine has limited motion.


The function of the lumbar spine is to support the weight of the body. L1 to L5 are large bones that are meant to carry weight.


The function of these five sacral vertebrae is to connect the spine to the hip bones.


These four bones that are fused are forming the tailbone that provides attachments for ligaments and muscles.

Intervertebral discs

Between each vertebra, there is an intervertebral disk that cushions the bones and keeps the bones from rubbing together.

The annulus crisscrosses fibrous bands that hold the discs together and the center core (the Nucleus) is like a shock absorbing gel.

Components of a vertebrae

The gel refills the center at night when sleeping and is squeezed out during the day.

As we age the discs gradually lose the ability to absorb the gel resulting in brittle and flatter discs.

Spinal Canal & Vertebral arch

Bony projections on the back of each vertebra form the vertebral arch.

Under each pedicle a pair of nerves exits the spinal cord, passing through the intervertebral forearm.

Seven processes arise from the vertebral arch.

The spinous, two traverse processes, two superior facets, and two inferior facets.

Facet Joints

The facet joints of the spine allow back motion.

Each vertebra has four facet joints.

One pair connects to the vertebra above and one pair that connects to the vertebra below.


Stabilizing and holding the vertebrae together are fibrous bands called Ligaments.

There are 3 major ligaments of the spine.

2 of the ligaments run from top to bottom and the third is an intervertebral tendon.

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord being approximately 18 inches long runs from the brainstem through the spinal Canal down to the 1st lumbar.

The spinal cord terminates and separates into the cauda equina. This continues down to the tailbone then branching out to the legs and feet.

The brain sends messages to the limbs and body through the spinal cord.

There are special pathways called spinal reflexes are designed to immediately protect our body from harm.

Spinal cord damage can result in a loss of sensory and motor function.

Injury to the thoracic or lunar area may cause motor and sensory loss of the legs and trunk.

Injury to the cervical area may cause sensory and motor loss to the arms and legs.

Spinal Nerves

The spinal column is comprised of 31 pairs of spinal nerves that branch off to carry messages to and from the brain.

The spinal nerve splits off into two, the anterior primary ramus and the posterior primary ramus.

Coverings and spaces

The spinal cord is covered with three membranes that also cover the brain.

The inner membrane is called the Pia Mater.

Next membrane is called the Arachnoid Mater.

The third membrane is Calle the Dura Mater.

The space between the Pia and Arachnoid Mater is filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

The space between the Dura Mater and the bone is the Epidural space.

Sections of a spine

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

The basis of chiropractic care is to support the health of the spinal column/ brain stem.

The central health of the body is dependant on the spinal column.

A chiropractor is concerned with the muscles, tendons and nerve pathways to make sure there is no strain on any nerves. Proper treatment to support injury recovery aids in the speed of recovery.

Your chiropractor can provide an assessment of your bodies needs, and format a treatment program to support a lifetime of health.

This article is sponsored by Surrey Chiropractic and Massage