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How your back works

How your back is built

The backbone is one of the most important parts of the human body. This stack of bones supports our trunks and makes all of our movements possible. It has 33 bones called vertebrae which are held together by ligaments, tendons and ligaments. Your vertebrae create a bony canal that surrounds and protects your spinal cord.

The vertebrae are separated by special cartilages known as intervertebral disks which act as shock absorbers. Each disk has a soft semi fluid center, which is surrounded by a cartilage ring. These disks prevent your vertebrae from hitting one another when you do movements such as walking, jumping or running. The intervertebral disks allows you to twist, bend and extend.

Spinal nerves go through the spaces in your vertebrae. These nerves carry out many tasks, these include supplying your muscles with power and your skin with sensation. It is through our nerves that we move and feel temperature, pressure and pain. In the lower part of the spine, the nerves combine on each side to form the right and left sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the most important nerve supplier to the legs, and it provides movement and sensation to the hip and lower extremities. When your the sciatic nerves get compressed or irritated, it can cause leg pain which usually extends below the knees. This condition is known as sciatica.

Your lower back is the area of your back which bears the most weight. This is the most most common site of pain. When you are upright, your lower back, also known as the lumbar spine, has to bear the compressive weight of the structures above it. This weight is transmitted to your pelvis when standing, walking and running. Aside from it's weight-bearing function, your lumbar spine also provides a flexible connection between the upper and lower half of your body and protects your spinal cord.

Functions of your backStructural support

Your back supports your body. It also plays a an important role in maintaining a stable center of gravity both at rest and in motion.

Movement and flexibility

Your spine allows you to do the following movements: flexion or forward bending, extension, axial rotation or twisting, lateral bending or side bending.

Protection

Your spine protects your spinal cord and your nerve roots.

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