Understanding The Anatomy Of A Healthy Spine

A healthy spine supports our upper body weight, while we move freely about. Our spine is designed into 3 sections: the cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine. These sections have natural curves called lordotic and kyphotic curves. Our cervical and lumbar spines are formed by the lordotic curve, while the thoracic spine is formed by the kyphotic curve. Together, these curves form an S-shaped structure, keeping your body balanced and your center of gravity where it should be so that you can stand upright. Out of all the curves the lumbar lordotic curve is the hardest working part of your spine. It carries more weight and moves the most.


The spine is made up of vertebrae and between each vertebrae are discs (cushioning pads of cartilage). The exception to this rule are the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine (C1,C2). The design of these two vertebrae (C1, C2) are such that they actually articulate with each other. The purpose of the discs are to absorb shock during movement. In the middle of each disc there is a spongy center called the nucleus and surrounding the nucleus is an outer, tougher ring called the annulus. The fluid within the nucleus allows your vertebrae to rock back and forth on your disc, giving you the flexibility to bend and move. Depending on how much movement you do throughout the day will cause changes in the size, shape and flexibility of your discs.

Strong, flexible muscles support your spine and keep your curves in normal alignment. If your abdominal, hip, thigh and other muscles are strong and flexible, they too can do the work of moving and supporting, taking strain off your spine. Good body mechanics also keeps your spine well aligned and moving properly. If you look after your back you will minimize the stress on your spine and help prevent back pain and injury.

At Sunnybrae Therapeutics we are well versed about back pain and solutions involving manual therapy and Bioflex Laser therapy. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us at 902-425-7759.