The spine is made up of 33 irregular bones, separated by intervertebral discs. The discs are flexible which allows the spine to move forward, backward, sideways and rotate, and they also act as shock absorbents. The 5 discs in the sacrum and the 4 discs in the coccyx are fused, which means they are immovable. The Spinal cord is protected within the Spinal Column.
C1 – C7 represent the 7 Cervical vertebrae, and allow for movement of the head, bending and twisting of the neck. T1 – T12 represents the 12 Thoracic vertebrae, which support the ribcage and allow some bending and rotation of the trunk, but this is limited because of the attachment of the ribs to the sternum. L1 – L5 represent the 5 Lumber vertebrae and are the largest and strongest of the vertebral column, and can be the source of many back problems, because of poor seated, standing, or walking posture, poor lifting technique, through lack of core strength, and inability to engage the abdominal muscles when using the back muscles. S1 – S5 represent the 5 bones of the Sacrum which is positioned between the two iliac crests to the rear, and form the sacro-iliac joint. This joint aids even distribution and transmission of weight of the body, to the hips and legs. C1 – C4 represent the 4 fused bones of the coccyx commonly called the ‘tailbone’, which does not move independently but can move in relation to the sacrum.
Summary: To help avoid or get rid of back pain, and improve your posture, have your posture checked by a professional, you’ll probably find that you have weak abdominals and a weak overall Core (muscles of the front, back and sides of the trunk), so work on a core strength exercise program, join a good Pilates course, and improve posture position, when walking and sitting. The photos below illustrate our natural spinal curves.