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.
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.
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 Spine
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
Spinal Nerves and Organ Control
Each of the paired spinal nerves has fibers from the dorsal root ganglion and ventral root ganglion of the spinal cord. 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 exit 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 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,” as well as 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 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 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 pain experienced from 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.
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 disc. The second issue is when the spinal disc starts to lose fluid and dehydrates. In medical terminology, disc dehydration is referred to “disc degeneration.” This is a process that occurs in injured or stressed spinal discs. Essentially, 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 and 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 the terms often used. While all of them are referred to as a slipped disc 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 protuberance that distorts a flat surface. In short, it is an abnormal swelling. Thus, when you hear the term disc bulge or bulging disc, it is a reference to a damaged disc in which your spinal disc fibers have been pushed outwards. 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 have come into contact with 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. The differences among herniated disc, a prolapsed disc, and protruded disc (more massive disc bulge) come down to spinal disc tears.
DifferacnesBetween a Herniated Disc and Prolapsed Disc
The terms “herniated disc” and “prolapsed disc” are even confusing some doctors! A herniated spinal disc and the prolapsed spinal disc are larger 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 workhorse of the disc while the annular fibers are the supporting structures of the nucleus pulposus. A herniated disc (prolapsed disc) is the progression of a protruded disc (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). Keep in mind that herniated discs and prolapsed discs are inherently larger bulging discs known as protruded discs with only one difference: tears! Now, the difference between a herniated disc and a prolapsed disc is that cracks or tears 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. In fact, the hallmark of a prolapsed disc is the downward displacement of discal fibers. In other words, a prolapsed disc is a huge 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?
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 Sinuvertebral Nerve
The sinuvertebral nerve carries both A and C nerve fibers. Clinically, this is one of the most critical nerves when it comes to spinal discs, spinal joints, and ligamentum flavum, as it innervates these tissues. With the prolonged or neglected conditions, this nerve (sinuvertebral nerve) degenerates. As a result, chronic and long-standing disc and spinal joint disorders may not cause the excitation of this nerve.
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 or the tiny blood vessels that provide the needed nutrients can damage this pain-sensing nerve to a point where signals of pain are no longer transmitted to the brain.
Let us give you a typical scenario that explains the presence as well as the absence of pain in spine patients with disc bulges, protrusions, herniations, or prolapses. Initial damage to the spinal disc, spinal joints, and spinal ligaments are quite painful. Pain is felt because of the compressive effects the malfunction has on the pain-sensing nerve (the sinuvertebral nerve). Continued compression, the irritation of spine disorders, or the neglect of an existing problem will jeopardize the flow of nutrients to the sinuvertebral nerve.
The Sinuvertebral Nerve and Spine Pain
A decrease in the flow of nutrients to this nerve will ultimately lead to the degeneration and death of the sinuvertebral nerve. This is the leading reason why some report intense pain at onset years that dissipated in time, leading them to think they were over their back pain or that the condition had been cured. This is all too common until the disc herniates and prolapses, compressing the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves 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 a 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 our centers to better understand the need for corrective care.
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. 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.
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.
Why should you Chose Our Spine Team 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, 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 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.
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. 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.