The average spine has approximately 220 ligaments, 100 joints, 120 muscles and 33 individual vertebrae.
Babies have MOREvertebrae than adults. We all start out with 33 individual vertebrae but most of us end up with just 26! As we grow older, some of the vertebrae with which we were born naturally, grow together to form the sacrum and the coccyx. Five fused vertebrae make up the sacrum and three or more fused bones comprise the coccyx.
As humans we have seven cervical vertebrae in our necks, the same number as giraffes!
Cartilage makes up 25% of the spine’s overall length. Your spinal cartilage is actually a very impressive type of tissue. Did you know that the pressure from microgravity put on the body when in space can cause spinal cartilage to expand? Astronauts who go to space can actually grow by as much as 3% when they return.
Gravity can have a major impact on the spine. In fact, humans actually tend to shrink as they age. After the age of 40, the average person shrinks as much as 1/3 of an inch every ten years.
Sitting hunched over at your desk can put major pressure on your spine. Sitting in this position puts around 100 kilogramsof pressure on your lumbar spine, or your lower back. This is why so many people, especially those with office jobs have low back pain.
Your spine protects your spinal cord, which delivers messages throughout your body. The average spinal cord weighs around 35 grams.
The spine is very flexible. So flexible that if you bent it as far is it can go it would form two-thirds of a complete circle.
The first vertebrae in your neck is called the atlas. This is perhaps the most important vertebrae in the entire spine. It is responsible for carrying the weight of the head and was named after the character in Greek mythology who was forced to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders for all eternity.
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