Conditions & Treatments
Your back is a key support for your body. It helps you keep your balance while walking on two feet and helps keep your head in an upright position. There are several components of your spine that work together, allowing your body to maintain healthy structure and function.
Vertebrae are individual bones that are stacked on top of one another to form the vertebral column. There are 26 vertebrae – 7 in the cervical spine (neck), 12 in the thoracic spine (mid-back) and 5 in the lumbar spine (low back). They provide the solid structure of your spine and also protect the spinal cord. At the bottom of the spine there is a solid bone known as the sacrum.
Discs are located between the vertebrae and serve as shock absorbers, relieving the pressure on the bones as the spine functions.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. It extends from the skull down to the lumbar spine, with individual nerves exiting out of the spinal canal at different levels and extending to the rest of the body. This enables the body to perceive sensation and initiate movements.
There are several muscles positioned around the spine. These help keep the spine upright. With certain injuries or conditions, the muscles can be stretched, strained or injured. Weak muscles can also cause back pain and create difficulty supporting affected parts of the back.
When any one of these components is not functioning correctly (whether due to an accident, injury or genetics), there can be a variety of symptoms that can develop, including pain, tingling and numbness. On our site, we have included some common spinal disorders and deformities, as well as their respective treatment options. These are meant to serve as an authoritative introduction and to answer some initial questions you might have, but are in no way a substitute for discussing these matters with Dr. Hey in person during your appointment.