We thought we’d have fun with this month’s blog post. That’s why we’re going to play some spine trivia! After all, the back is one of the most important parts of the human body. It’s also one of the most neglected -- but that’s a whole other story!
Did you know the spine is made up of 24 vertebrae, separated by discs? These discs act as shock absorbers. They also allow your spine to move in many different directions. If your spine isn’t in good shape, you’ll encounter a series of problems in other areas of your body.
Now that you know the basics, weird and wacky facts are a fun way to learn more about the spine! Here are some amusing tidbits you can recite back to your friends and co-workers. You’ll certainly impress them with your newfound smarts -- and get a few chuckles in, too!
1. You’re taller in the morning than you are at night
You can blame gravity for making you shorter as nighttime approaches! During the course of the day, the weight of your body puts increasing pressure on the spinal discs. This actually causes the length of your spine to gradually shorten. It’s the same reason why astronauts gain a couple of inches in height after floating around in space. The difference between your height in the morning and night is very slight, but the impact gravity has on your spine is still very real!
2. Smoking is bad for the spine
There’s so much emphasis on how smoking is terrible for the lungs. But did you know this nasty habit can also damage your spine? That’s because smoking reduces the blood flow and bone strength your spine requires to stay strong. Tobacco will also delay the healing process after injury, and can hinder you from the physically active lifestyle that keeps backaches in check. Because there’s no such thing as spine replacement surgery, it’s important to take care of the one you have. Reclaim your health -- and keep your spine intact -- by butting out for good.
3. We have the same number of neck vertebrae as giraffes
Considering a giraffe could look into a second-storey window without having to tippy-toe -- you’d think he’d have way more neck vertebrae than us humans. But that’s not the case. Even though a giraffe’s neck is about six feet long, this mammal has seven vertebrae -- just like us. The only difference is that a giraffe’s neck alone weighs about 600 pounds!
4. The neck vertebrae is often referred to as Atlas
Another fun fact about the neck (or cervical) vertebrae is that they’re often referred to as Atlas. In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan burdened with carrying the world on top of his shoulders. This is much like the neck, which supports and carries the weight of the head.
4. Babies have more vertebrae than adults
All humans are born with 33 vertebrae. But as you enter adulthood, you’ll end up with just 26. So where did all the extra bones go? As we get older, some of the vertebrae actually fuse together to form the back of the pelvis and tailbone. The pelvis is made up of five fused bones while the tailbone is comprised of three. This is one of the reasons why infants are so wobbly and unable to sit up. Their spinal vertebrae have not yet grown together to provide that extra stability.
5. Robots are now performing spine surgery
With all the advancements in medicine, it was only a matter of time before spine surgery was handled by robots! Earlier this year, doctors at the Virginia Spine Institute were the first in the world to perform surgery using a robotic guidance system. Robotic devices offer greater control and precision, so patients can experience better results. They also allow for a less invasive approach to surgery. Doctors can get away with making smaller incisions, which means less blood loss and minimal time under anesthesia.
6. Up to 85% of working Canadians will experience back pain at some point
That statistic comes from the Canadian Chiropractic Association. And according to Statistics Canada, back pain is among the most common chronic conditions in this country. The amount of money spent on medical treatment is estimated between 6 and 12 billion dollars per year. To put that into perspective, $6 billion is the annual GDP of the entire country of Monaco!
If you’re one of the many Canadians suffering from chronic back pain, don’t let it take over your life. From massage therapy to chiropractic care, Physiomed offers a variety of treatments to help alleviate discomfort. Our team takes an interdisciplinary approach to health, allowing us to address the root of the problem. So rely on Physiomed to maintain the vitality of your spine and keep those backaches at bay.
For more information on back pain or to book an assessment, contact us here.