What are the Structural Components of Your Spine?

Do you often suffer from pain, numbness, or stiffness in your back? If so, you’ve probably wondered what causes the symptoms.

To help you get a better understanding of what may be causing your discomfort, Bonaventure Ngu, MD, of Premier Spine Institute explains the structural components of the spine, how changes in these structures can cause issues, and things you can do to get relief.

Parts of the spine 

Your spine has three sections: the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine. The cervical spine is the part of the spine closest to your head. The thoracic spine is located in the middle and upper back, and the lumbar spine is located in the lower back. The spine is composed of the following parts:

Vertebrae and discs

Vertebrae are the building blocks of your spine. And between your vertebrae are discs that allow your spine to bend, twist, and absorb shock. 

If a disc herniates, the jelly-like substance inside the disc squeezes out to the exterior. If the substance pushes against a nerve, this can lead to pain.

A disc can herniate if there is poor blood supply to the disc, you lift heavy weights, you smoke, or because of dehydration. Regular exercise can increase the flow of blood to your discs, which can help prevent injuries.

Facet joints 

In the back of your spine, facet joints link your vertebrae together and allow your spine to be flexible. 

Unfortunately, you can injure these joints by severely twisting your body or lifting heavy weights. Painkillers and injections containing a small amount of anesthetic are sometimes recommended if the pain doesn’t go away on its own.

Spinal muscles

The spinal muscles are what allow you to stand upright. These back muscles contract and relax as the spine moves.

However, if you have weak spinal muscles or lift heavy weights, the muscles may become tense and painful. Pain in the spinal muscles can be severe, but it usually goes away with a combination of rest, ice, and pain medication.

Preventive measures and treatment for back pain

You may be able to reduce back pain or eliminate it by implementing a few simple preventive practices, such as the following:

If your back pain doesn’t improve, Dr. Ngu can help you get relief. After a thorough evaluation, he may recommend medications, injections, or even minimally invasive surgery to repair spinal issues. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine Institute today.

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