Why we have a Spine

Why we have a Spine

Why we have a Spine

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Humans are considered a vertebrate animal.  In otherwords,  we have a spine.

The spine serves as a scaffold by which the rest of the body attaches its ligaments,  tendons and muscles, and in a coordinated fashion, allows purposeful movement.  It is a marvel of engineering as it allows generation of precision maneuvers,  powerful forces,  and explosive speed,  while preserving the structures of the body.

The spine houses the extension of the brain,  the spinal cord,  and the individual nerves that communicate directly with the muscles,  ligaments,  and organs of the body.  In addition,  the nerves provide the feedback of sensation,  motion,  pain,  heat, etc.  that allows coordination of motion,  and protection against harm.  The hard bone encasing the spinal cord,  and the nerves,  providing protection.

At the same time,  motion is necessary to allow movement,  and the spine is segmented into multiple bones  (vertebra) connected by a ligament structure (disc) with exit holes for the individual nerves (vertebral foramen).  Two vertebral connected to each other with the disc,  facet joints and other ligaments form the so called Functional Spine Unit (FSU).  Integrity of the FSU allows coordinated movement,  while providing protection to the nerves and spinal cord.

The disc is essential to the FSU,  as it acts as a spacer,  providing the space for the nerves to exit the spinal unit.  It also acts as a strong ligament,  making sure the vertebral maintain appropriate orientation to each other.  The disc is shock absorber, allowing compression onto the vertebrae,  without causing fracture of the bones as they transmit forces onto each other.

Without a spine,  creatures cannot develop a means to develop extremities that can support functions against gravity. Because of this limitation,  land invertebrate animals  can only develop to a small size.   In the oceans,  there are larger invertebrate animals.

Unfortunately,  while the FSU is an elegant design,  the natural process of wear and tear takes its toll.  The discs lose its water content, and the ligaments experience micro stretches.  The cartilage lining the facets joints wear,  and the bones spur.  That is why all animals begin to experience pain, and  stiffness.

Humans are no different.  We just can express these complaints better than most animals.

Citations

  • Baranowska A, Baranowska J, Baranowski P. Analysis of Reasons for Failure of Surgery for Degenerative Disease of Lumbar Spine. Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2016 Mar 23;18(2):117-129. PubMed PMID: 28155820

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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