The SpineSpinal Anatomy
The Spine is composed of twenty-four vertebrae: seven cervical, twelve thoracic and five lumbar and includes the sacrum and the coccyx bones, which form the base of the spine. The vertebra are separated by fibro-cartilaginous discs which are designed to hold the vertebrae together as well as provide cushioning for the weight of the head and the body in an upright posture. The spine is supported and held together by ligaments, which attach individual bones to each other. Muscles and the tendons that attach them to the bones offer even more support and provide movement. Each vertebra is designed to have a limited amount of movement and flexibility for the head and trunk.
The Importance of the Atlas Vertebra
A number of the vertebrae are unique in their design. Some are called typical and others atypical. Unique and most atypical is the first cervical or atlas vertebra. It forms the coupling between the spine and the skull and is without any vertebral disc, either above or below. It is this design that makes the atlas the key into the misalignment of the spine. It is a vertebra that has the ability to hold the entire spine and body into a stressed and locked position with constant mechanical tension.
Protecting the Nervous System
Including the skull and the sacrum, the spine is the housing and protection for the central nervous system. Tiny foramina or openings in the base of the skull provide passage for the twelve cranial nerves. Openings in the center of the vertebrae form the canal for the spinal cord. Individual spinal nerves exit through foramina formed by notches in the top and bottom of the vertebrae and the segments of the sacrum.
Spinal Blood Supply
Arteries and veins are prolific in the skull and spine. The blood supply is essential for the normal health and functioning of the spine and nervous system. The mechanical tension from the spinal misalignment and its progressive degeneration of the discs and joints can affect the movement of blood through the spine and nervous system.
The Nervous SystemAnatomy of the Nervous System
The central nervous system includes the brain, brain stem and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is composed of the cranial and the spinal nerves.
Outside of the spine and skull the peripheral nervous system is divided into two parts: the somatic and the autonomic. The somatic portion of the nervous system is responsible for sensation. The autonomic is divided into the parasympathetic (speeds things up) and the sympathetic (slows things down) for both the voluntary (walking) and involuntary (digestive) movements.
The nervous system controls and regulates the interactions of all of the functions of the body. The Nervous System primarily does four things:
Distribution of Spinal Nerves
Nerves exit the foramina between the spinal vertebrae and go into specific areas of the body. The list below follows the distribution of the nerves and relates to specific symptoms and conditions from problems at the segmental level of the spine. The spinal nerves are numbered for the specific spinal segment where they exit. For example the nerve to the sinus and eye area of the head exits at the level of the second cervical and would be C-2.
Less Than Normal Nerve Function
The Misaligned Spine compromises the functioning of the nervous system by several mechanisms. The mechanical tension on the central nervous system, as well as the chemical and vascular changes associated with the degeneration, are all components that interfere with the ability of the body to function normally. Virtually any function of the nervous system can be effected and virtually any function of the body.
Over 100 symptoms and conditions are originated by, related to or influenced by the Misaligned Spine. For a complete list go to: