Interesting facts about the spine

Interesting facts about the spine

The Spine

The spine is a truly amazing part of the human body. It is one of the differentiating factors that define humans. The spine has three important functions:

  • To support the weight of the body
  • To provide flexibility for movement,
  • And to protect nerve roots and fibres and form a protective surrounding for the spinal cord.


We’ve gathered together the following fascinating facts about our brilliant backbones:

  1. When we’re born, our spines consist of 33 individual vertebrae. In a newborn baby, the vertebrae begin as cartilage. It usually only become fully made up of bone (a process called “ossification”) by the time we’re around 25 years old. Adults have only 26 vertebrae since some fuse together as we grow.
  2. Our spines consist of 7 bones in the neck, 12 in the middle back and 5 in the lower back, and the sacral and coccygeal bones beneath. Each and every bone is unique.
  3. Humans and giraffes both have 7 vertebrae in their necks (cervical spine). It seems impossible but that demonstrates the flexibility and versatility of a giraffe’s spinal structure.
  4. About 10% of the population have 6 lumbar vertebrae instead of 5.
  5. The first bone of the neck is called the Atlas from the Greek mythological Atlas who was burdened with carrying the “world on his shoulders” (much like the neck supports and carries the weight of the head).
  6. We have over 120 muscles that support the spine, over 100 joints, and over 200 ligaments.
  7. In between each vertebra are discs primarily made up of water.
  8. There are 13.5 million neurons (or nerve cells) in the spinal cord which weighs only 35 grams.
  9. The spine is so strong and super robust, able to sustain the weight and pressure of hundreds of kilograms!
  10. Something as simple as lying flat on your back with your knees elevated can put up to 11kg of pressure on your spine.
  11. Cartilage makes up 25% of the spine’s overall length.
  12. Astronauts who go to space can actually grow by as much as 3% when they return.
  13. The spine is very flexible. So flexible that if you bent it as far as it could go, it would form two-thirds of a complete circle.
  14. After the age of 40, the average person shrinks as much as 8mm every ten years.
  15. Baby’s spines begin developing just two months after conception. It is the first bone to start to grow when we are in the womb.
  16. Your spine carries more than a million electrical nerve messages between your brain and your body every single day.


Chiro & Sports Med

Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing an irritated nerve, bulging disc, back painneck pain, knee pain, headaches, or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing an injury.  Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. Above all, we are here to improve your quality of life, well-being, and your ability to live an active healthy lifestyle.

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