spinal motion segments

Understanding the Spinal Motion Segment

How does my spine move? 

We never think of our spine moving- we tend to think of it as a stable pillar that is moved by our body. But in reality, there are millions of micro-movements occurring with every tiny motion you make- everything is channeled through the spine. Thus vertebrae must be able to articulate with each other to allow your upper body to move. So, while the spine is designed for stability, the whole system needs to have some level of flexibility in order for it not to crack from the shearing forces we put it through on a daily basis. 

Introducing the spinal motion segment

The SMS, also known as functional spinal unit, is responsible for this freedom of movement. It consists of:

  • Two vertebrae 
  • Spinal facet joints
  • Intervertebral discs

The health of this so-called articular triad is of critical importance to your overall flexibility and spinal wellness. The most easily compromised are the intervertebral discs, composed of cartilage, which provide the cushion between the vertebrae. Without this disc, your vertebral bones would literally rub against each other and shred themselves. 

The discs in the lower back are under the most strain, thanks to their location in the lower spine where most of the weight is borne. 

Protecting your spine as a whole

At OFW Chiropractic, we are experts on the ever-complex spine. We believe it is a central component of wellness and we want to keep it operating as it should. That means paying close attention to how individual vertebral joints articulate in relation to the rest of the spine. Give our office a call- we are standing by to help you prioritize the health of your spine this new year. 

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