Everything You Ever Wanted 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 functions. 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 a healthy and more active life. We would review some of the basic anatomies before discussing spine conditions, disorders, and spine treatment. The spine consists of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal regions.
Cervical Spine Or The Neck
The cervical spine comprises seven spinal bones (vertebrae), and they are numbered C1 to C7. The cervical column extends from the base of the skull to the thorax or upper back. A well-balanced, 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 from those of the cervical vertebrae. The skull sits on the cervical spine by articulating with the occipital bone, the atlas, and the axis. The Atlanto-occipital joints that connect the head (occiput) to the first cervical vertebra allow for movements such as nodding the head. However, the atlantoaxial joints, which include the C1 and C2 segments, allow for the head’s side-to-side rotation.
The Thoracic Spine Or The Upper & 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, forms the thorax’s skeleton portion. A healthy thoracic spine will have a posterior convexity curvature (kyphosis). The rib cage and the thoracic spine help support and protect the human body’s vital internal organs.
Lumbar Spine & The Lumbosacral Spinal Segments (Lower Back)
The lumbosacral spine involves the five lumbar vertebrae, denoted L1 to L5, the five sacral vertebrae, which combine to form the sacrum in adults, and the coccyx. The coccyx, or the tailbone, comprises four segments coupled as one unit in an adult. The 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.
Intervertebral Discs Of 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 intervertebral bodies’ front and back parts 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 Of The Spine (Zygapophyseal Joints Or Facet Joints)
Articular facets at the posterior part of the spinal vertebra allow movements of spinal segments. A fibrous capsule encapsulates the articular facets that are further reinforced by the ligamentum flavum. A layer of synovial membrane lines the inner surface of the joint capsule.
The Spinal Canal
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, a 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
The spinal cord, or cord, is situated within the spinal canal described above. The spinal 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 spinal cord’s width 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 spinal cord’s average thickness 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 back. 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.
Nerves Of The Spine Or Spinal Nerves
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 the motor, sensory, and autonomic signals between the spinal cord and the body. There is a total of 31 paired spinal nerves (one on each side). We have provided a categorical listing for the 31 paired spinal nerves below:
- Cervical spine: eight paired nerves
- Thoracic spine: 12 paired or matched nerve
- Lumbar spine: five paired nerves
- Sacrum and Coccygeal: five paired nerves
Spinal Nerves & Organ Control
Each of the paired spinal nerves has fibers from the spinal cord’s dorsal root ganglion and ventral root ganglion. The dorsal or anterior nerve root provides sensory information to the brain. The ventral or posterior nerve roots carry motor information (commands) from the brain. Thirty of the 31 paired spinal nerves exit the spine through an opening called the “foramina.” The only nerve that does not exist through foramina is the C1 nerve. The C1 nerve exits beneath the occiput and above the C1.
The most common cause of back pain is the impingement of one or more of these paired nerves as they exit the spine. Nerves are sensitive to pressure; any impingement can cause irritation and malfunction. Learn more about “Low Back Pain” and the best Low Back treatment options in Malaysia.
A variety of spinal disorders cause nerve root irritation. We discussed these briefly in the section below.
Common Disorder Of The Spine & Spinal Column
The spinal column is critical; it is part of an organ that forms our nervous system, including 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 result from 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. We will briefly elaborate on the slipped disc, joint disorders, and ligamentous issues that affect the spinal column in the coming paragraphs.
Spinal Stenosis: Leading Cause Of Disability In Patients With Spine Disorder
Spinal stenosis (also known as “Canal Stenosis”) is a diagnostic term for the spinal canal’s shrinkage. 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 premature wear and tear. The 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 is treatable 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 therapy through NSD Therapy® protocols through highly advanced spine technology, the RxDecom®.
Facet Hypertrophy Or Posterior Facet Syndrome Treatment & Diagnosis In Malaysia
Facet Syndrome known as facet joint syndrome, facet hypertrophy or posterior facet syndrome is the descriptive terms used to denote problems with joints of the spine. The joints in your spine bear your weight, provide mobility, and protect from excessive 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 has small articular surfaces (facets). The vertebral facets (joints) 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.
What Causes The Degenerative & Arthritic changes In The Spine?
The encountered daily stress can result in 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 better at diagnosing a spine condition. Best of all, the care you get from us is the best holistic spine care in Malaysia. In other words, we will accurately diagnose you and then provide precision non-surgical treatment to fix and repair the actual cause. Learn more about your spine and our physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment programs at our chiro-zone and physio-zone in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by visiting us today.
Herniated Discs In The Spine
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 daily. Doctors often use different terms to describe spinal disc conditions, and this cannot be very clear. 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.
Two types of spinal disc disorders can occur. One issue arises when the protective and supporting walls of the disc (annular fibers) are injured. An injury to the annular ligament often leads to a bulge or outward swelling of the spinal disc. The second issue is when the spinal disc starts to lose fluid and dehydrates.
In medical terminology, disc dehydration refers to ” degenerative disc disease” or “disc degeneration.” Degenerative disc disease is a process that occurs in injured or stressed spinal discs. It causes the spinal discs to flatten out and deteriorate. Disc dehydration is the leading cause of disc herniation. Please check out our links below to better understand herniated discs:
- What is a herniated disc?
- What are the most causes of a herniated disc?
- Can a herniated disc (slip-disc or slipped disc) be reversed?
- How a spinal disc gets damaged?
- How our treatments reversed a slipped disc without surgery or injections?
The Difference Between Bulging Discs & Protruding Discs
As we mentioned earlier, doctors use different terms to describe spinal disc damage. Bulging discs, protruding discs, herniated discs, extruded discs, and fragmented discs are often used. While they are all referred to as a slipped discs or slip-disc, there are some slight differences between them.
A bulging disc is a damaged disc or a disc under stress. The definition of a bulge is a rounded swelling or a bump that distorts a flat surface. In short, it is an abnormal swelling. Thus, when you hear the term disc bulge or bulging disc, it references a damaged spinal disc. Some doctors believe that bulging discs and protruded discs are synonyms, but there are slight differences.
A bulging disc is a disc that has swollen up but one that has not contacted or compressed the spinal cord or spinal nerves. On the other hand, a protruded disc is a more substantial bulge where the swelled spinal disc fibers contact spinal nerves or the spinal cord.
There is also confusion when it comes to herniated and prolapsed discs. A herniated or prolapsed disc is similar to a protruded disc in that the swelled discal fibers have come into contact with the spinal cord or spinal nerve. Spinal disc tears are the key differences in a herniated disc, prolapsed discs, or a protruded disc (more massive disc bulge). Slipped discs that present with tears are more complicated but still treatable with targeted non-invasive methods.
Differences Between A Herniated Disc & Prolapsed Disc
The terms “herniated disc” and “prolapsed disc” are even confusing some doctors! A herniated spinal disc and the prolapsed spinal disc are more prominent disc bulges (protrusions) with tears in the annular fibers. When the annular fibers tear, it enables the migration or slippage of the nucleus pulposus.
The nucleus pulposus, as mentioned earlier, is at the heart of the disc. It is the spinal disc’s workhorse, while the annular fibers are the supporting structures of the nucleus pulposus. A herniated disc (prolapsed disc) is a protruded disc’s progression (extreme disc bulge). However, there are minor differences between a herniated disc and a prolapsed disc.
Both herniated and prolapsed discs have torn annular fibers, but the difference is in the severity of the slippage or protrusion (bulging). Remember that herniated discs and prolapsed discs are inherently larger bulging discs known as protruded discs with only one difference: tears! The difference between a herniated disc and a prolapsed disc is that cracks or damages are often more significant, resulting in more prominent protrusions (slippage or bulge).
Just as it was with a disc bulge (protruded disc), a prolapsed disc is a more extensive form of a herniated disc. The hallmark of a prolapsed disc is the downward displacement of discal fibers. In other words, a prolapsed disc is a vast or complicated slipped disc, where the disc fibers start to sag downwards (sink or bulge and protrude downwards).
Can A Bulging Disc Or Protruded Disc Cause Pain In The Spine?
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 spinal disc continues to bulge (swell and protrude), it compresses nerve fibers. Continued compression of the disc’s pain-sensing nerve fibers 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 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 causes the degeneration and even death of the sinuvertebral nerve.
The Sinuvertebral Nerve Of The Spine
The sinuvertebral nerve carries both A and C nerve fibers. Clinically, this is one of the most critical nerves in spinal discs, spinal joints, and ligamentum flavum, as it innervates these tissues. With prolonged or neglected conditions, this nerve (sinuvertebral nerve) degenerates. As a result, chronic and long-standing disc and spinal joint disorders may not cause this nerve’s excitation.
The initial damage or irritation of spinal joints, encapsulating ligaments, ligamentum flavum, and spinal discs can be quite painful.
However, continued pressure or compression of the sinuvertebral nerve pinch the tiny blood vessels that provide it the needed nutrients. Lack of blood flow (nutrients) to this nerve leads to damage. Once the sinuvertebral nerve (pain-sensing nerve) is damaged, it will not transmit the brain’s pain signals. In such cases, patients with chronic neck or back pain often stop feeling the intense pain in the neck or back they once had.
Most are relieved and start believing that they have gotten over the issues they once had. Sufferers are alerted again when they experience symptoms in their legs or arms. Pain, numbness, tingling, or weaknesses are the common leg or arm symptoms associated with spinal disc disorders. Accurate assessments are needed when arm or leg symptoms occur in the absence of neck or back pain.
Radicular symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations or weakness in arms or legs) are interpretive signs, indicating severe spine disorders.
However, when they occur in the absence of neck or back pain, their clinical significance is of great importance, indicating damaged invertebral nerve. In the section below, we have provided additional information on radicular symptoms in the arms or legs.
The Sinuvertebral Nerve & Spine Pain
A decrease in the flow of nutrients will ultimately lead to the degeneration and death of the sinuvertebral nerve. It is the leading reason why some report intense pain at onset years that dissipated in time, leading them to think they it was cured. It is all too common until the disc herniates and prolapses, compressing the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
The spinal cord and spinal nerves’ compression will once again trigger a different set of pain-sensing nerve fibers. In other words, the pain comes back, but this time, patients complain of pain, tingling, burning, numbness, or weakness in the affected legs or arms.
Do not neglect even minor spinal pain. Don’t listen to the so-called experts that can’t tell you the difference between a disc bulge and a protruded disc, let alone a herniated and a prolapsed disc.
Keep in mind that every catastrophic health condition starts small. Disregarding minor issues is the leading reason why so many hospitals are busy operating on patients and why so many are taking more medication than food daily. We are not here to turn molehills into mountains but to help you avoid disability or worse! Visit one of our centers to understand the need for corrective care better.
The Chiropractic Specialty Center® Difference When It Comes To Spine Treatment:
The most significant difference between others and us is an accurate diagnosis and precisely targeted treatment that addresses the actual cause of the spine, joints, scoliosis, and sport injury patients. In short, we have a better understanding of the spine and joints. In addition to a better, more thorough knowledge of the 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 with 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 accurately diagnose and treat the actual cause of pain and 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 as well as the best research-based chiropractic care and targeted rehabilitation. We have succeeded where others have failed. Let us help you with your spine today.
Why Should You Chose Our Spine Treatments For Neck Pain, Back Pain, Scoliosis Or Slipped Disc Clinical Teams Over Others?
Try our Research-based Chiropractic back by Advanced Physiotherapy and fix the source of your Spine related disorders. At Chiropractic Specialty Center®, we treat a variety of health problems. Our experience lies in neck pain, lower back pain, sciatica, spondylosis, slipped disc, scoliosis, degenerated disc, arthritis, and facet arthritis. In addition to spine treatments, we offer a host of joint and sport injury treatments. In short, if injured or in pain, we can help. We are your best non-operative solution in the town. We have helped thousands of patients and will undoubtedly do the same for you. Call a center near you now to reclaim your life.
What Are The Causes Of Neck And Back Injuries?
Neck and back are the most common injuries sustained in gym-goers. Most live with these pains. Gym injuries of the spine are on the rise. What is worse is those who neglect mild or even moderate levels of discomfort or pain during workouts. If you ever experience pain during an exercise, you need to stop.
The most common cause of pain during a workout is improper techniques. Proper lifting and workout sessions are critical to avoiding neck and back pain during exercise. Otherwise, you could end with a slipped disc. So, take our advice to learn how to lift at home or during a workout to prevent injuries.
Scoliosis treatment from our non-surgical experts is second to none. We have the best spine technology and treatment methods for scoliosis patients. Call our center today to schedule your scoliosis assessment. And do remember to bring in your scoliosis x-rays when you come in. We need your scoliosis x-rays to complete our evaluation.
Get Treated through The Best Methods Of Spine Specific Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Today
The profession of chiropractic is relatively new to Malaysia. Chiropractic treatment has helped millions recover faster from pain and injuries. The clinical success achieved through chiropractors is why so many are joining the profession. How large is the chiropractic profession in Malaysia? Well, we are still growing, but rapidly. Our centers provide targeted treatments for TMJ pain, slipped disc, and even tinnitus. Visit us today and fix the actual cause of your condition.
Our spine treatments follow the best clinical practices in chiropractic and the best physiotherapy. We will not use ineffective, outdated, or risky procedures. Before we initiate any care, one of our chiropractors identifies the cause through diagnostic means. Treatments start after we have established an accurate diagnosis. The speed of your recovery depends on the severity of your condition. Rest assured, our clinical team will keep you informed of all your options before we get started.
You no longer have to choose between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist. We are making it possible for you to obtain collaborative treatments from our chiropractors and physiotherapists during the same session. In other words, you don’t have to choose one over the other.
The Best Spine Treatment In Malaysia: Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy
We opened our first center in 2007. The successes we achieve in treatment are 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 country’s severest spine conditions without the need for injections or surgery. 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 are among the main reasons our patients recover faster from pain or disability.
Our expertise and knowledge of spine-related conditions are unmatched. Our chiropractors and our physiotherapists base their treatments on sound clinical judgments backed by published medical research. Therefore, rest assured the care you get from our teams is world-class. In other words, our non-surgical spine treatment is second to none in Malaysia.