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17 Crucial Facts About The Spinal Cord Everyone Should Be Aware Of

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Read this article on spinal cord facts to learn about this fascinating structure of our body.

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Did you know that the human spinal cord is about 18 in (45.7 cm) long and that it contains around 31 pairs of spinal nerves?

The human spinal cord is one of the most complex and amazing organs in the human body. It contains millions of nerve cells that control all movement and communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Structure

The central nervous system in the human body is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

Humans have 31 left-right pairs of spinal nerves, each corresponding to a vertebra in the backbone. The spinal nerve emerges from the spinal column through an interval between neighboring vertebrae. The nerves branch out to the legs and feet from the tailbone.

The spinal cord is not a single cord, but rather a collection of nerves that sends and receives signals from all over the body. It is made of sensory neurons, motor neurons, and relay neurons.

The spinal cord begins at the base of the brain and travels down the back, ending between the first and second lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.

The bony spinal column (or vertebral column) protects the human spinal cord. The vertebrae make up the spinal column. Although the spinal column is flexible, certain vertebrae in the lower sections of the spine become joined.

The vertebral column (or spinal canal) is made up of 33 bones, seven cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, five lumbar vertebrae, a sacrum (made of four fused bones), and a coccyx or tailbone (made of five fused bones).

Functions

The spinal cord is responsible for a variety of vital functions.

The spinal cord controls all movement in the body, from simple reflexes to more complex movements like walking and running. It is also responsible for triggering reflexes, which are instinctive responses to certain stimuli.

The spine regulates a variety of important bodily functions, including heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

It contains nerve cells that relay information about sensation and pain from the rest of the body to the brain. This allows us to feel pain, temperature, and pressure.

The spinal cord serves as the primary route for all nerve impulses transported between the brain and the rest of the body and in containing a variety of pain receptors and other sensation receptors that communicate with it through peripheral nerves.

The spinal cord is protected inside the spinal column.

Significance: Injury, Treatment, Tumors

Damage to the spinal cord can lead to loss of movement or communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Injury to the spine can have a devastating effect on a person's life. However, thanks to advances in medicine, many people with spinal cord injuries now have access to treatment and therapy that can help them improve their quality of life.

The significance of the spinal cord cannot be overemphasized. It is the primary route for all nerve signals between the brain and the body.

It also contains a variety of pain receptors and other sensation receptors that communicate with it through peripheral nerves. These tiny nerve fibers are distributed throughout the body and transmit continual information from every area to the brain.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

Here are some additional fun facts about the spinal cord.

Both humans and long-necked giraffes have seven cervical vertebrae.

Cartilage makes up over a fourth of the overall length of the spine and serve as the vertebrae's sponge-like substance that separates one disc from the next.

The spine holds memories of pain. Pain signals are carried by neurons in the spine to nerves in the wounded region for a few days after an accident.

The brain contains white matter on the inner portion while the spine has white matter on the outer portion.

The growth of the spine is completed once you reach five years old.

FAQs

Why is the spinal cord so important?

A: The spinal cord is so important because it plays a vital role in movement and communication. It transmits messages from the brain to the rest of the body and controls all movement. It also helps regulate the body's vital functions, such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

How thick is the spinal cord?

A: The spinal cord is about 0.4-0.6 in (1-1.5 cm) thick.

Does the spinal cord move?

A: The spinal cord does not move on its own. However, it is responsible for all movement in the body. It transmits messages from the brain to the rest of the body.

Is the spinal cord part of the brain?

A: No, the spinal cord is not part of the brain. The brain and spinal cord are separate organs, although they work together to control the body.

What is the most important part of the spinal cord?

A: The most important part of the spinal cord in the cervical region located in the neck. This region contains the spinal cord's highest concentration of nerve cells and is responsible for controlling movement and communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Can the spinal cord repair itself?

A: Yes, the spinal cord can repair itself to a certain extent. If it's injured, the body will attempt to heal the damage by forming scar tissue. However, if the injury is severe, permanent damage may occur.

How many spinal cords are there in a human body?

A: There is only one spinal cord in the human body. It contains 31 pairs of spinal nerves.

Does the spinal cord control reflexes?

A: Yes, the spinal cord controls reflexes. This is why it's so important for movement and communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Reflexes are instinctive responses to certain stimuli and the spinal cord is responsible for triggering them.

Are spinal cord injuries permanent?

A: Most spinal cord injuries are permanent. If the injury is severe, permanent damage may occur. However, if the injury is less severe, recovery may be possible.

Why are spinal cord injuries so serious?

A: Spinal cord injuries are so serious because they can cause permanent damage to the nerve cells in the spinal cord. This can lead to loss of movement or communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

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