Everything you Ever Wantted to Know About the Spine
The human spine or vertebral column is considered to be part of the axial skeleton. In this section of our website, we will familiarize you with the different structures and their function. Also, we will cover some of the more common issues of the spine. Good spinal health is critical to an active, healthy life. We hope the information provided here can help our readers, patients, and neighbors live healthier and more active lives. We would review some of the basic anatomy before discussing spine conditions, disorders and spine treatment. The spine consists of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal regions.
Cervical Spinal Segment (the Neck)
The cervical spine is made up of seven spinal bones (vertebrae), and they are numbered C1 to C7. Cervical column extends from the base of the skull to the thorax or upper back. A healthy neck has a posterior concavity curve (lordosis) when viewed from the side. C1 is called the atlas and C2 the axis; their forms and functions are different than that of the rest of the cervical vertebrae. The skull sits on the cervical spine by articulating with the occipital bone, the atlas, and the axis. Atlanto-occipital joint that connects the head to the first cervical vertebra allows for movements such as nodding the head. The atlantoaxial joint, which includes the C1 and C2 segments, allows for side-to-side rotation of the head.
Thoracic Spinal Segment (the Upper and Mid Back)
The thoracic spine consists of 12 vertebrae, denoted T1 to T12. The thoracic spine at the back, along with the rib cage on both sides and the sternum at the front, form the skeleton portion of the thorax. A healthy thoracic spine will have a posterior convexity curvature (kyphosis). The rib cage and the thoracic spine help to support and protect the vital internal organs of the human body.
Lumbar spine and the Lumbosacral Spinal Segments
The lumbosacral spine involves the five lumbar vertebrae, denoted L1 to L5, the five sacral vertebrae, which are fused as the sacrum in adults, and the coccyx. The coccyx, or the tailbone, is made up of four segments combined as one unit in an adult. Normal lumbar spine has a posterior concavity curve (lordosis), while the fused sacrum demonstrates a posterior convexity curve (kyphosis). The sacroiliac joints connect the pelvic bones (ilium) to the sacrum and the spine.
An intervertebral disc (also known as the spinal disc) connects to each vertebra, except the C1-C2 segment together. The intervertebral disc is attached to the cartilaginous plates of two adjacent vertebrae. Anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments lie on the front and back part of the intervertebral bodies and intervertebral discs as a continuous longitudinal band. The intervertebral disc is composed of overlapping laminae, like the layers of an onion. These adjacent laminae are very strong, as they lie obliquely to each other. The nucleus pulposus, with high water content, is located at the center of the intervertebral disc. There is a transition zone between the nucleus pulposus and the annular fiber where the cell composition of both structures becomes very similar to each other.
Articular Facets (Zygapophyseal Joints or Facet Joints)
Articular facets at the posterior part of the spinal vertebra allow movements of spinal segments. The articular facets are covered by a fibrous capsule and are further reinforced by the ligamentum flavum at the front and posterior ligaments at the back of the capsule. A layer of synovial membrane lines the inner surface of the capsule.
The spinal canal is the housing and passageway for the spinal cord. The spinal canal or vertebral canal forms the skull and vertebral bones (spinal bones). The word “canal” refers to an opening; in the spine, this canal or opening is in the middle of the skull bone (occipital bone) and the descending spinal bones. Its primary purpose is to provide housing, passageway, and protection for the spinal cord. The human spinal cord begins at the opening in the base of the skull (the occipital bone). This opening, better known as the foramen magnum, is connected through a series of ligaments with the first spinal segment (C1 or atlas) and continues downward, connecting each section of the spine to the tailbone.
The spinal cord, or cord, is situated within the spinal canal described above. The cord is relatively shorter than its housing, the spinal canal. The average length of the human spinal cord is about 45 centimeters in males and approximately 43 centimeters in females. The width of the spinal cord can vary from person to person, even if the two are of similar heights. The spinal cord is much thicker in the neck, and as it descends through the spinal canal, its size reduces. The average thickness of the spinal cord is about 13 millimeters in the neck and approximately 6.4 millimeters in the mid and low back portions of the spine.
The spinal cord transmits neuronal (nerve) signals from the brain to the body and from the body back to the brain. The spinal cord gives rise to spinal nerves, and the spinal nerves control and coordinate the function of nearly every cell, tissue, and organ in the human body. Therefore, a disorder that compresses the spinal cord impacts tissues throughout the body, depending on the site and severity of the compression.
The human spinal nerve carries information from the spinal cord to the body and from the body to the spinal cord. It is the communicator between our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the body. Spinal nerves carry motor, sensory, and autonomic signals between the cord and the body. There is a total of 31 paired spinal nerves. These 31 paired nerves are categorized in the following manner:
- Cervical spine: eight paired nerves
- Thoracic spine: 12 paired nerve
- Lumbar spine: five paired nerves
- Sacrum and Coccygeal: five parried nerves
Common Disorder of the Spinal Column
The spinal column is critical; it is part of an organ that forms our nervous system; which includes the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves in the body. Like other organs, it can get damaged, worn out, diseased, and infected, and even become life-threatening. Life-threatening spinal conditions are related to infection, cancer, post-surgical complications, and severe spinal cord compressions. Severe spinal cord compressions are common with excessive wear and tear, fractures, or space-occupying lesions within the spinal canal. When severe, spinal canal stenosis can become life-threatening, especially if the stenosis is in the cervical spine (neck).
Some spinal conditions cause significant amounts of pain and even disability if they are neglected or improperly treated. Conditions such as herniated discs (protruded discs, bulging discs, prolapsed discs, and extruded discs), referred to as slip-discs or slipped discs, can adversely impact our ability to lead a healthy life. In the coming paragraphs, we will briefly elaborate on the slipped disc, joint disorders, and ligamentous issues that affect the spinal column.
Spinal stenosis (also known as “Canal Stenosis”) is a diagnostic term for shrinkage of the spinal canal. Canal stenosis (spinal canal stenosis) is more common in adults over 50, but it can happen at any age. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is a premature wear and tear. Neck and lower back are the most common sites for spinal stenosis. Most spinal stenosis patients have a combination of slipped disc, disc degeneration, arthritis and thickening of ligamentum flavum. Recovery is dependent on the level of expert care you get. In other words, you need a thorough assessment from a clinical expert deeply familiar with spinal stenosis.
If you visit a spinal surgeon, chances for surgery are relatively high. Contrary to what most surgeons recommend, spinal stenosis can be effectively treated non-surgical. Chiropractic Specialty Center® has the technology, skills, and knowledge to treat spinal stenosis without the need for surgery successfully.
NSD Therapy® is the best method of non-surgical spinal stenosis treatments. Our clinical teams of chiropractors and physiotherapist render treatment through NSD Therapy® protocols thorough highly advanced spine technology, the RxDecom®.
Facet Syndrome Treatment and Diagnosis in Malaysia
Facet Syndrome known as Facet Joint Syndrome, Facet hypertrophy or Posterior Facet Syndrome are the descriptive terms used to denote problems with joints of the spine. Spinal joints, bear the body’s weight, provide spinal mobility, and protect from excessive spine movements. Before elaborating on facet syndrome, it may be helpful to describe the anatomy of the facet or spinal joint.
The human facet joint or spinal joint have small articular surfaces (faces). Facets are in every segment of the spine, except at the very top (C1 & Occipital bone or base of the skull). As mentioned earlier, facets provide stability for the neck, upper back, mid back and low back. Excessive torsional movements (twisting of the spine), and flexion or extension can adversely impact the spine, spinal cord, and spinal nerves. Aside from connecting segments of the spine together and providing weight bearing, this protective mechanism (prevention of torsional, flexion and extension movements) is critical. Therefore, it is imperative to have a well functioning, healthy facet or spinal joint.
The encountered daily stress can result in an abnormal wear and tear leading to degenerative changes, arthritis and scar tissues in facet joints. Facet joint pain and the pain experienced due to a slip-disc can be confusing. Accurate diagnosis is vital to successful clinical outcomes. Our clinical teams are not just better at precise diagnosis, but also offer the best holistic spine care in Malaysia. Learn more about your spine and the best spine treatment by a Chiro in Malaysia by visiting us today.
A discussion of spinal disc conditions is incomplete without discussing the types of spinal disc problems. A herniated spinal disc is a common disorder that impacts the lives of millions on a daily basis. Doctors often use different terms to describe spinal disc conditions, and this can be confusing. So, we will try to shed light on some of these terms in the hope of making it easy for you to understand your condition.
Can a Bulging Disc or Protruded Disc Cause Pain?
The spinal disc does not have a direct blood supply, but it does have pain-sensing nerve fibers. Thus, any disruption can irritate these pain-sensing nerve fibers. In short, a bulging disc often causes pain, but a protruded disc will always cause pain. In some, the pain is severely acute at the onset. As a disc continues to bulge (swell and protrude), it compresses nerve fibers. Continued compression of the pain-sensing nerve fibers of the disc can lead to the degeneration and even demise (death) of this protective nociceptive (pain-sensing) ability of the spinal disc.
Earlier, we mentioned that spinal discs lack direct blood supply. While this is true, there is an exception. At the very edge of the spinal disc (the outermost fibers of the annulus), there are tiny capillaries (blood supply). These capillaries provide the needed nutrients to the attaching ligaments, including ligamentum flavum and the sinuvertebral nerve, which encircles the last fibers of the annular ligament or annular fibers. The advancing of age and spinal disc disorders such as bulging discs, protruded discs, herniated discs, and prolapsed discs can compress and obliterate these tiny vessels, leading to hypoxia in supplied tissues and the sinuvertebral nerve. In short, a prolonged or neglected spinal disc disorder can lead to the compression of the tiny blood vessels, which cause the degeneration and even death of the sinuvertebral nerve.
The Chiropractic Specialty Center® Difference:
The most significant difference between others and us is our research-based methods of the diagnosis and treatment of the spine, joints, scoliosis, and sport injury patients. Also, we have a much better understanding of the spine compared to others. In short, we are better! In addition to a better, more thorough understanding of spine and joint conditions, we have medical devices and technologies that others do not have in the Southeast Asian region. Without sounding too arrogant, you will not find a better non-surgical team than us.
Spine disorders always present with co-conditions. The most common co-condition seen in patients that suffer from chronic neck pain or back pain is the Modic Changes. There are three distinct types of Modic changes that impact the spine:
Our clinical teams have the knowledge, skills and breakthrough technology to properly diagnose and treat the actual cause of pain as well as the presenting co-conditions. Don’t take a chance on the inexperienced or poorly equipped centers. Visit us; we are Malaysia’s premier spine and joint treatment center.
If you suffer from a mechanical spine disorder, we are your best option. Don’t just take our word for it; visit us today and compare us to others in physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and chiropractic care. Our name incorporates the word chiropractic, but we are so much more. We offer advanced clinical physiotherapy, best research-based chiropractic care, and targeted rehabilitation. We have succeeded where others have failed. Let us help you with your spine today.
The BEST Spine Treatment in Malaysia: Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy
We opened our first center in 2007. Our successes we achieve in treatment is better when compared to others. Today, the level of care you can get from us is unmatched by others. We have successfully treated some of the severest spine conditions in town. We succeed because of our clinical team and our technology. Furthermore, the treatment you get from us is targeted to repair the cause of your pain at the roots. We accomplish this through the RxDecom®: The best non-surgical spinal decompression therapy device in Malaysia. We are just a phone call away. Call and speak with one of our clinical team members now. If we can be of assistance, we will let you know right away.
At our center, chiropractors and physiotherapists work side-by-side. Their combined clinical skills and knowledge is one of the main reasons why our patients recover faster from pain or disability.
Our expertise and knowledge of spine-related conditions are unmatched. Both our Chiropractors and our Physiotherapists base their treatments on sound clinical judgments that are backed by published medical research. Therefore, rest assured the care you get from teams is world-class. In other words, you are getting the Best form of Spine Treatment when you seek care from a Chiropractic Specialty Center®.