Spinal Cord Injuries Essay

1507 words - 6 pages

The key function of the cervical spine is to support the weight of the head which is approximately 10-12 pounds. The spinal cord is the key path for information between the brain and the peripheral nervous system. It transmits signals back and forth between the body and brain. The length of the spinal cord is about 45 cm in men and 43 cm in women. Within this spinal link, there are thirty one pairs of spinal. Each spinal nerve splits into two roots before connecting to the spinal cord.

The human body is a weight-bearing exterior and an addition for the disc. The vertebral arch systems the spinal canal through which the spinal cord runs. The developments arise from the vertebral arch to form the facet joints and processes for muscle and ligament attachments.

The spinal column is made up of bones called vertebrae which are to a certain degree flexible while some of the vertebrae in the lower parts of the spinal column are fused. The spinal cord is enclosed by the spinal column which consists of 33 vertebrae
 Cervical – Upper seven vertebrae located in the neck (C1-C7)
 Thoracic – Twelve vertebrae that extend through the chest area (T1 – T12)
 Lumbar – Five vertebrae in the lower back (L1 – L5)
 Sacral – Five vertebrae located in the pelvic area (S1 –S5)
 Coccygeal – Four fused vertebrae (tailbone)

The cervical spine has the highest range of motion because of two particular vertebras that move with the skull while cervical vertebrae are the smallest. The first cervical vertebra is called the atlas and is dissimilar from the further vertebrae. It is ring-like in shape with two large lumps on the sides to sustain the weight of the head. The second cervical vertebra is called the axis. The axis is a bony peg-like bulge, called odontoid (on its upper surface that fits within the ring of the atlas). The curve of the neck is designated as a lordotic arc, and looks like a “C” in reverse.

The key function of the thoracic spine is to defend the organs of the chest, particularly the heart and lungs. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae with one rib attached on each side creating a thoracic cage, which shields the internal organs of the chest. The thoracic spine has a normal kyphosis, or “C” curve and is less movable than the cervical and lumbar spine because of the thoracic cage.

The lumbar spine has five lumbar vertebrae, and they are known to be the largest vertebrae. They are ranged in a reverse “C” like the cervical spine. The five lumbar vertebral bodies are the weight-bearing portion of the spine and are the biggest in diameter compared to the thoracic and cervical vertebral bodies. They sit over the sacrum, which is formed by five vertebrae fused together into a solid unit. Therefore, there are usually no distinguishable disc spaces between the sacral segments. At the end of the spinal column is the coccyx or tailbone.
Damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal causes everlasting fluctuations in strength,...

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