Reno Doctor of Chiropractic

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Facts About The Spine

Thank you for choosing our chiropractic clinic for your neck or back pain. On this web site we have put together as much information for you as we can. Below you will find details about the human spine literally from the top to bottom. Each portion of the spine is "hopefully" clearly explained on this page. We hope we have made it easy to understand. At the end of each section there is a link which connects to another page that explains each spinal region in further detail. If you have any questions, please contact our chiropractic clinic via email or phone.

Chiropractic care begins at the base of the skull in the “Occipital region”. This is where the lower back part of the head is attached to the spine. The Occipital region is connected to the Cervical, the Cervical is connected to the Thoracic, the Thoracic is connected to the Lumbar, the Lumbar connects to the Sacrum, and that attaches to your Coccyx, or tailbone. Hopefully by the end of this section, you will know enough to get an A on an 8th grade anatomy quiz.

About the Occipital Bone

The occipital area of the head is located in the lower back of your head where the head connects to your spine, and your brain processes vision. The occipital is named from the Latin words (Ob) and (Caput) which mean “Back of the Head.”
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About the Cervical Region of the Spine

Your spine is a group of bones that support your body. There are 5 sections of the spine discussed on this page, we will begin at the top just below the occipital region. There 7 bones in the "Cervical" spine (C1 - C7) - the word cervical, in Latin means "Of the Neck".

The (C1) or Atlas

The weight of your head (about 13 pounds) is resting on your C1, or Atlas. This bone, (vertebra) is part of a joint that connects your head to your spine. The C1 is attached (fused) to the C2, or Axis. These two bones work together, allowing side to side, and up and down movement.

The (C2) or Axis

As we said above, the C2, or Axis connects to the C1 (Atlas) and the two vertebrae work together as one unit. We have more information about this topic on our cervical spine page.

Cervical Vertebra (C3-C6)

The cervical portion of the spine is different that other parts of the spine. The seven bones have a gentle forward curve called a "cervical lordosis". In the middle of this curve you find the cervical bones C3 - C6. Your spinal column runs down the center of these bones while arteries carry blood to the brain.

The (C7) or Vertebra Prominens

At the bottom of our cervical region is a bone identified at (C7). You can find a nice graphic representation of the C7 bone here. The C7, or (Vertebra Prominens) connects to the "Thoracic section of the spine.
read more about the cervical spine

About the Thoracic Region of the Spine

This portion of the spine contains 12 bones (identified as T1 - T12). These "thoracic" bones grow outward, and then turn inward, and from these bones ribs grow, which protects your most vital organs like your heart and lungs. This central part of the spine takes a lot of damage from everyday life, and can easily slip out of place. If you seldom sleep on your back, you may have an issue with your thoracic region. Contact a qualified chirpractic doctor for an examination. Below is an in depth look at the thoracic spinal bones.

The (T-1) or First Thoracic Vertebra

The (T1) or first thoracic vertebra is the part of the spine that attaches to the cervical section. T1 is the smallest of the 12 thoracic vertebrae. This bone supports the first and second ribs. Full details about the thoracic section are available on our thoracic spine page linked at the bottom of this section.

The (T-2) or Second Thoracic Vertebra

As you descend the thoracic area of the spine the bone get larger. (T2) is just a little larger than (T1) and smaller than (T3). The (T2) also supports the rib cage. This portion of the spine is more stable than the cervical area of the spine. While it is less prone to injuries, you may have problems with your (T2) because of osteoarthritis, a sport injury, or auto accident.

The (T-3) or Third Thoracic Vertebra

The next part of the thoracic spine is known as (T3). It supports ribs, protects organs, and acts as a cushion. If you have a problem with your (T-3) you may describe the pain as being in the very bottom of your neck, but in reality, it is three bones down from your neck. Besides the bones, there are also lots of nerves running through the spine. At the (T-3) portion, the body sends signals to and from the lungs, and chest.

The (T-4) or Fourth Thoracic Vertebra

Your neck is very mobile, so is your lower back (lumbar region). The thoracic region of your spine is not very flexible, it is designed for strength and protection. If you have a pain right between your shoulder blades, it might be your (T-4, or T-5). A simple adjustment can relieve that pain that seems to take your breath away every time you bend over.

The (T-5) or Fifth Thoracic Vertebra

Right there in the middle of your shoulder blades is the (T-5). It is again larger than the bone above it. This bone (T-5) is shaped like a heart. If you take a tumble down stairs, and find it hard to breathe, you could have compacted your (T-5) in the accident and require immediate attention from your family doctor, and a doctor of chiropractic.

The (T-6) or Sixth Thoracic Vertebra

Just to refresh your memory, there are 12 thoracic bones located in the middle of your spine. These bones protect your organs, your ribs, spinal column, nerves, and arteries. Dead center in the middle of your thoracic spine is (T-6). This vertebra is stable but can be injured during sports, or even by sleeping all night in a bad position.

The (T-7) or Seventh Thoracic Vertebra

The next bone in the thoracic region is the (T-7). It is centrally located in the spine, and has nerves that connect to the heart, lungs, stomach, and liver. You can imagine how your body would react to long term issues with this region. Even two or three visits a year to the chiropractor can keep this part of the thoracic spine in good health. To find a chiropractor near you, please consult our directory.

The (T-8) or Eighth Thoracic Vertebra

If you could look with x-ray eyes into the base of the neck to the pelvis, you would see the 12 thoracic bones of the spine.

In the lower portion near the middle of your back if the (T-8). The area where your back slopes inward is where you'll find your (T-8). Try to arch your back and your (T-8) will bend.

The (T-9) or Ninth Thoracic Vertebra

As we move down the spine towards the lower section of the thoracic spine, we come to the (T-9) or ninth thoracic bone. Each area of the spine has specific nerves running through it, the (T9) is attached to your adrenal glands. A simple displacement of the T9 vertebra (while rare) may cause severe damage to your kidneys.

The (T-10) or Tenth Thoracic Vertebra

The 10th bone of the thoracic region is the (T-10). Patients who complain of pain in the rib cage, up and down the back are checked for a displaced (T-10). When you have this kind of pain, contact your chiropractic professional for an appointment.

The (T-11) or Eleventh Thoracic Vertebra

The next vertebra in your thoracic spine is the (T-11). It is located toward the bottom of the region, and it protect the spinal cord from damage as well as supports your weight.

The (T-12) or Twelfth Thoracic Vertebra

The last part of the thoracic spine is the (T-12). This section attaches to the lower part of the spine, which is called the lumbar. For those of you who have read this far, we thank you. Please "Like Us" on Facebook.
read more about the thoracic spine

About the Lumbar Region of the Spine

The third (of five) section of the spine is called the Lumbar region. It consists of 5 very large bones. The lumbar contains the largest bones in the spine which are located between the ribs and the pelvis. They are named according to their location in spine, from (L1-L5).

The (L-1) or 1st Lumbar Vertebra

Just below the thoracic region of the spine, you find the five bones of the Lumbar region. The first (L-1) is the origin of most sciatic complaints. The reason for this is that the nerves that connect to the legs, and feet travel through the lumbar region of the spine. If you are experiencing pain from sciatica, don't suffer in pain. Contact this chiropractic clinic to schedule an examination, and spinal decompression.

The (L-2) or 2nd Lumbar Vertebra

Trouble with your (L-2) is more than just a pain the back. You can have problems controlling your bladder, or even your digesting food. A misaligned (L-2) can cause numbness in the hip, or send shooting pains up your back, or down your leg.

The (L-3) or 3rd Lumbar Vertebra

The next part of your lumbar is called the L-3. It is the center of your lumbar system. You may have a lumbar adjustment in your cars seat. Adjusting this pushes your lumbar forward, into a natural position. Chiropractors use adjustments, or decompression to do the same thing.

The (L-4) or 4th Lumbar Vertebra

This part of the spine has been called the most important in your body. The (L-4) is the last movable bone in your spine. This bone is very large and supports the majority of your weight as you walk.

The (L-5) or 5th Lumbar Vertebra

The last of 5 lumbar vertebrae is called (L-5). It is connected to the next portion of the spine, which is called the Sacrum. Those two bones, the (L-5) and the (S-1) if compressed with bring the largest man down to his knees. If can lead to incontinence, and inability to walk, or sit, or stand up straight. Spinal decompression is the only option for this type of injury. Without it you will not be able to function, or even lie down to sleep. Call right away if you are experiencing this type of pain.
read more about the lumber spine.

About the Sacrum Region of the Spine

At the bottom of your spine you have a triangle shaped bone, or actually a group of bones that make up the Sacrum. The upper part of the triangle is attached to the lumbar section, the bottom portion is attached to the bottom section of the spine, known as the coccyx. The sacrum is very important because it is attached to your pelvis. A slip and fall can injure a sacrum, but you don't have to fall to injure this part of your spine. It is common to twist your sacrum our of place while sleeping. If you wake up and have trouble standing or walking, contact us right away. If you wake with a numbness on one side of your body and/or have trouble speaking, you could be suffering from a stroke. In that case, contact your physician immediately.
read more about the sacrum here

About the Coccyx or Tailbone

Down at the very bottom of your spine you find the Coccyx, better known as the tailbone. Most of us have our coccyx inside our bodies, some have protruding coccyx. Injuring your tailbone is nothing to laugh about. It hurts very much. There are several bones that make up our tailbone. A hard fall on the ice, or a slip and fall in the bath can seriously injure your coccyx.
read more about the base of your spine.

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