Fun Facts About the Spine

Most people don’t think about the spine until their back hurts.  But the human spine is an amazing structure.  Its 24 vertebrae, 120 muscles, 100 joints, and 220 ligaments give us the rigid strength to stand up and the flexibility to move in many directions.  It houses and protects the spinal cord which is part of the central nervous system sending messages to and from the brain.  Of course, these are facts that you’d know if you were paying attention in 9th-grade biology class, and they’re not all that fun, to be honest.  And the spine can be fun!

Did you hear about the chiropractor who wrote for a newspaper?

He had a spinal column.

See!  Spine humor is fun.  We’ve scoured the Earth to find some facts about the spine that you can use to entertain your friends and show them how fun you are!

Fun Spinal Facts

  • Your spinal cord stops growing at age 5.  That’s right!  By the time you’ve started kindergarten, your spinal cord has reached its maximum length, 16-20 inches.
  • Humans have the same number of cervical vertebrae as giraffes.  The cervical vertebrae are the ones located in the neck.  We have seven and so do giraffes!  The only difference is the length.  Our cervical vertebrae are each 1.5 centimeters in length while giraffes’ are 25 centimeters.  The truth is, almost all mammals have approximately the same number of vertebrae in their necks.
  • We lose ½-¾ inches in height every day.  Each day, gravity causes our spines to compress and we lose height!  At night as we sleep, lost moisture is replenished in the spine and we regain most of that, but not all.  Most people will lose ½-2 inches of height in their lifetime.
  • In space, astronauts spines straighten out.  They lose the natural curve that the spine has on Earth with gravity continuously pushing down on it.  This also gives them a 4x higher risk of experiencing a herniated disk when they return to gravity-filled Earth.
  • Astronauts experience a lot of back problems.  Aside from a straightened spine, astronauts lose about 19% in the size of their paraspinal muscles, the muscles that connect the vertebrae, weakening the back and causing back problems.
  • Babies have more vertebrae than adults.  Where do they go?  When we’re born, we have 33 individual vertebrae bones but by the time we’ve developed into adults, some at the bottom have fused together, leaving most people with 24 vertebrae.
  • This is Spinal Tap was almost entirely improvised.  With only a 4-page synopsis to go on, the cast improvised the movie, creating a hilarious cult classic.  It goes up to 11, indeed.

All kidding aside, damage to the spine from an injury, illness, or degeneration can be extremely painful and debilitating.  At North County Pain Relief, we can treat your spine to alleviate your pain.  We take a holistic approach to your health. Upon your initial consultation and exam, we’ll come up with a plan to treat your pain and ailments to improve your whole health.  If you’re from the St. Louis area, call North County Pain Relief today at (314) 731-4201 to schedule a free initial consultation.