The spine, also known as the vertebral column or backbone, is a complex structure consisting of 24 vertebrae and several other supporting structures. It is a vital part of the body, providing protection to the spinal cord, which is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. The spine also plays a crucial role in supporting the head and neck, allowing for trunk motion and dispersing forces to the lower extremities.
Anatomy of the Spine
The spine is divided into four distinct regions, each with a unique structure and function. These regions include the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), lumbar (lower back), and sacrum/coccyx (SI joint and tailbone). Each region consists of several vertebrae, with the cervical spine having 7, the thoracic spine having 12, the lumbar spine having 5, and the sacrum/coccyx being a fused structure made up of several bones.
The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs, which act as shock absorbers and allow for flexibility in the spine. The spinal cord runs through the center of the vertebrae, with nerves branching out at each level to communicate with various parts of the body.
What to Expect From Spinal Physical Therapy
Spinal physical therapy is a non-surgical approach to treating pain or dysfunction. A physical therapist in New York will evaluate your condition and develop a custom treatment plan specific to your needs. Treatment may include:
- Exercises to improve strength and flexibility
- Manual therapy to reduce pain and improve mobility
- Education on proper posture
The spine serves several important functions, including:
- Protecting the spinal cord: The spine encases and protects the spinal cord, which is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
- Supporting the head and neck: The cervical spine supports the weight of the head and allows for neck motion.
- Allowing for trunk motion: The thoracic and lumbar spine allow for forward and backward bending, twisting, and side-to-side movement.
- Dispersing forces to the lower extremities: The spine distributes the weight of the body to the hips and lower extremities.
Common Spinal Injuries
While the spine is a strong and resilient structure, it can become compromised and result in pain and dysfunction. Some of the most common spinal injuries include:
- Degenerative disc disease: This is a condition in which the intervertebral discs break down over time, leading to pain and decreased mobility.
- Disc herniation: A disc herniation occurs when the soft center of an intervertebral disc pushes through the outer layer, causing pain and nerve irritation.
- Spinal stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition in which one vertebra slips forward on another, causing pain and nerve irritation.
- Myelopathy: This is a condition in which the spinal cord is compressed, leading to weakness, numbness, and tingling.
- Radiculopathy: This is a condition in which a nerve root is compressed, leading to pain and numbness in the affected area.
- Sciatica: This is a condition in which the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs, is compressed or irritated, leading to pain and numbness in the affected area.
- Osteophytes/bone spurs: These are bony growths that can develop on the vertebrae, leading to pain and decreased mobility.
- Compression fracture: This is a type of fracture that occurs when a vertebra collapses, leading to pain and decreased mobility.
- Scoliosis: This is a condition in which the spine curves to the side, leading to pain and also decreased mobility.
Contact our team at Lifestyle Physical Therapy in New York and Huntington, Long Island for more information about treating any conditions affecting your spine by calling (212) 577-9313.
She goes above and beyond for her clients and I leave every session feeling a million times better and well equipped to continue the improvements via a customized treatment plan. Alexis is such a warm, friendly and helpful person, I can’t recommend h- Eleanor D.
The personal attention and care he gives to his patients is unmatched in the field. He takes your concerns seriously and actually LISTENS to them unlike many other medical professionals.- Alex G.
In my opinion, what really sets Matthew apart is his ability to pay attention to the individual and understand each person's idiosyncratic needs. I cannot recommend him highly enough.- Azi E.
If you are not comfortable with some exercises, he will update them to your needs, I really like that. The physical therapy place is very clean and if you are lucky you will get to meet his adorable dog.- Danny K.
to Get Started? Call Us at 212-577-9313 or Schedule Your Next Visit
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