The human spine is complex system of bones, muscles, and nerves, and if it sustains an injury, the results to the rest of the body can be devastating. Herniated discs, compression fractures, and other conditions can leave a person in extreme pain, and at the Colorado Spine Institute in Loveland, we want to help people understand their spinal injuries. One way to do that is to understand the spinal vertebrae and intervertebral discs, and in this blog, we’ll offer some basic information.
The vertebrae themselves are the 33 individual bones that connect together to create the spinal column. Vertebrae are divided into five regions along the spine – the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, and the sacrum and the coccyx. The cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae are able to move due to the facet joints, which are what connects each vertebra to the one above and below it.
Although they vary in size depending on where they’re located in the spine, each vertebra is made up of three main parts – the vertebral body, which is drum-shaped and is designed to bear weight; the spinal canal, an arc-shaped bone that protects the precious spinal cord; and the transverse and spinous processes, which are star-shaped and act as an attachment point for muscles and ligaments.
The discs in your spine are there to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together. If you’ve ever had a bulging or herniated disc, then you know how much pain they can cause. Each disc has a nucleus in the center and an outer ring called the annulus that is made of tough fibrous material. A herniated disc occurs when the annulus ruptures and the soft interior of the nucleus pushes through the exterior. As we age, our discs lose the ability to reabsorb fluid, and this can lead to back pain, spinal compression, and many other conditions.
Your vertebrae and discs are integral parts of your spine, and if you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to have a doctor examine you as soon as possible. If left unchecked, a spinal condition can have a more serious and longer-lasting impact on your overall health than it would have had you received treatment sooner. There are some conditions such as osteoarthritis that simply need to be managed, and our goal is to help minimize and remedy your pain as much as possible.
At the Colorado Spine Institute, we’ve treated a number of spinal injuries and conditions, and we always want to help people understand what’s going on with their body. We know that it can be frustrating not to know what’s causing your pain or limiting your mobility, and hopefully this blog has been of some help.
If you live in Loveland, Fort Collins, or the surrounding area, and need treatment for your spine, please contact us today. Our clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 4:00pm, and we’re conveniently located off Highway 34 in Johnstown.