The spine is a fascinating and intricate part of the body that is capable of great feats. Here are 15 interesting facts about your spine and the health of your spine.

  1. The top vertebrae in your spine is called the Atlas because Atlas, a character in Greek mythology, was forced to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. The top vertebrae is responsible for carrying the weight of the head (which is about 10-11 pounds).
  2. The spine alone has over 120 muscles, 220 ligaments, and 13.5 million neurons.
  3. The spine can withstand hundreds of kilograms of pressure.
  4. Humans and giraffes have the same number of cervical vertebrae – seven!
  5. Spines actually have a memory, which is how your posture is set and sometimes hard to correct. Stretching, exercising, and strengthening your spinal muscles go a long way towards proper care. It is also why chiropractic care can be helpful.
  6. The spine is made up of over 100 different joints.
  7. Over 80% of the American population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives; the most common cause amongst them being from trauma sustained in a car accident.
  8. The spine is so flexible that if bent it would make 2/3 of a circle.
  9. Sitting in a hunched position puts about 200 pounds of pressure on your spine.
  10. The average spine weighs about 35 grams.
  11. Cartilage makes up a fourth of a spine’s length.
  12. Astronauts can return from space 3% taller than they were before they left because the cartilage expands in response to microgravity.
  13. Individuals with back pain who do not go through strengthening exercises during rehab are 22 times more likely to have a relapse than those who do.
  14. The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae and over time some of them fuse together making the sacrum and coccyx (the tailbone).
  15. Gravity actually has an effect on our spine as we age. Individuals over the age of 40 will actually “shrink” a quarter to a third of an inch every decade.