The spine has many functions in providing us with the capability
to lead the lives we do.
Strength and Support
The human body is supported
by the spine which also provides strength, especially to the
skull which is made up of heavy bones.
The thoracic region of the
spine is above all responsible for offering strength and stability
to the body. Most of the body’s weight is supported
by the lumbar region that allows for flexion movements but
The spine and its curvaceous
nature together with the range of muscles and tendons, supply
our bodies with a means of being able to distribute our weight,
and adjust to our changing bodies for example when weight
is gained or during pregnancy.
During those times when extra
weight is carried, the curves of the spine become more noticeable
in order for the body to balance by finding the centre of
gravity and maintaining it. This flexibility is allowed by
muscles, ligaments and tendons being there.
The complex design of the
spine and its accompanying structures of muscles, tendons,
ligaments etc, allow the body to move in ways such as stretching,
rotating, bending and leaning.
The cervical spine is in charge
of allowing movement and rotation of the head and neck, due
to the first two cervical vertebrae, the atlas and axis being
there, which are a exceptional combination of bones.
Protection of Nerves
The spinal column consistently
guards the delicate nerves and the spinal cord, which we could
not function without, as certain nerve impulses run the functions
of our major organs. The design and position of the vertebrae
and certain ligaments structure a network of protection that
keeps the spinal cord from attaining injuries.
Red blood cells and minerals
are produced from inside the hollow interior chamber of the
bone, known as bone marrow. The vertebrae provide plenty of
this bone. There are two type of bone marrow; red and yellow.
Yellow bone marrow contains a high level of fat cells as well
as producing a number of white blood cells. Red bone marrow
is in charge of the creation of red blood cells, white blood
cells and platelets.
Protection of Major
The skeleton provides a foundation
that the ribs are attached to, which surrounds and protects
our major organs. The word ribcage is in fact defined as being
the sternum (breast bone), which consist of 12 pairs of ribs
and the 12 thoracic vertebrae. All human ribs are attached
to the spine, but only the upper 7 pairs are attached to the
sternum. The structure of the ribs protects the heart and
lungs by forming a cage around them.
Absorption of Impact
The spine contains intervertebral
discs which offer a way of absorbing impact. These discs are
positioned between each vertebrae, not only do they prevent
the vertebrae from bumping into each other, they have a substance
that absorbs powerful motions which prevents impacts being
transferred to the next vertebra, a lot like a shock absorber.
The spine provides a way of
connecting the upper and lower body by using the sacrum which
connects the spine to the pelvis. The coccyx does not have
a useful purpose.
Newborn babies have reasonably
straight spines, the spine doesn’t develop they characteristic
curves until the baby starts to hold the weight of his/her