Spine Pain Treatment Chicago

Basic Spine Anatomy

(1) Vertebrae
“Bones of the neck and back;” provides structural support for the spine, protects and encases the spinal cord.

(2) Discs
Fibrous pads of cartilage which separate the vertebrae. The discs allow for flexibility in your spine, assist the muscles as shock absorbers, and provide cushioning between the vertebrae. The center of the disc is called the nucleus pulposus, it is a jelly-like substance. The nucleus is surrounded by tough rings of tissue called the annulus, which is similar to a ligament.

(3) Spinal Nerves
There are 30 pairs of spinal nerve roots, which branch off the spinal cord and exit through the intervertebral foramina (see number seven below) between each vertebra. They transmit sensory and motor impulses to and from parts of your body so that you can feel sensations and move your body.

(4) Facet Joint
The joints which connect one vertebra to the vertebra above or below it. They are paired joints, which means that there is a left and right joint. They are located on to the sides and behind the discs. Facet joints control the amount and direction of spinal movement.

(5) Spinal Cord
A bundle of nerve fibers that act as the “main cable,” carrying both sensory and motor information between the body and the brain.

(6) Ligaments
Tough, non-elastic bands that hold the vertebrae together and help limit the amount of movement of a joint. They may become too lax, causing joint hypermobility (too much movement of a joint) and therefore pain.

(7) Intervertebral Foramina Spaces created by the vertebrae through which the spinal nerves pass.

(8) Muscles Elastic tissue that contracts to allow the body to move. Muscle groups may become weak or tight, causing a “muscle imbalance.” This can directly affect full movement of the spine and extremities.

(9) Tendons
Fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone.

(10) Spinal Curves
The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other to form four continuous curves. They are as follows: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral curves. These curves allow for flexibility.

Spinal Curves

In its proper position, the spine follows natural curves, which allow for increased flexibility. These curves include:

(1) Cervical (neck)

(2) Thoracic (middle spine)

(3) Lumbar (lower spine)

(4) Sacral (base of the spine)