human body & nervous system
The human body was created in an absolutely extraordinary way. We contain approximately 50 trillion cells , each interconnected and intimately functioning together. The central nervous system (brain, brain stem, and spinal cord) is connected to the peripheral nervous system (spinal and peripheral nerves) and controls the way we move and function. Our skull protects our brain and most of our brain stem, and our spine provides protection to the spinal cord and exiting spinal nerves.
Your nervous system is responsible for your breathing, your blood pumping around your body, hormones and enzymes being released in your body, moving your body parts, muscle tone and tension, organ function and control, every chemical reaction that occurs within your body, your ability to feel pain, emotion, hear, etc. Without your nervous system we simply wouldn’t be!
The spine is a column of small bones called “vertebrae”, which support the entire upper body. The column is grouped into three sections, the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) and lumbar (lower back) spine regions.
The neck consists of seven spinal bones created for movement. There are twelve vertebrae in the middle back connecting the rib cage. The lumbar vertebrae are the five lowest and largest of the spinal column. Most of the body’s weight and stress falls on the lumbar vertebrae. Below the lumbar region is the sacrum, a triangular bony structure that connects with the pelvis at the sacroiliac joints. At the end of the sacrum are tiny, partially fused vertebrae known as the coccyx or “tail bone”.
Vertebrae in the spinal column are separated from each other by small cushions of cartilage known as intervertebral discs. Inside each disc is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded by a fibrous structure called the annulus. The disc combines protein with approximately 80% water giving it an elastic quality and provides the spine with an excellent shock absorption quality.
The vertebrae and discs combine to create a space for each spinal nerve to exit from the spinal cord on its way to the body. The individual vertebrae and discs allow us our flexibility and movement.