10 Surprising Facts About The Spinal Cord

28 Aug, 2022

The spinal cord is an essential component of the body’s Central Nervous System (CNS). It starts at the cervical vertebrae (the neck) and runs down between the first and second lumbar vertebrae.

While many know the spinal column (spine) itself helps support the body and assists with movement, the spinal cord remains a bit more of a mystery.

Here are 10 surprising facts about the spinal cord:

1. It’s the nervous system’s HQ

Think of your spinal cord as the headquarters of your body’s nerves. It holds the peripheral nervous system and 43 nerve pairs, both sensory and motor. Thanks to this system, your brain, and spinal cord are connected to all other parts of your body.

2. It controls voluntary and involuntary movements

The spinal cord is the reason you can lift your hand and make a fist and it’s also responsible for involuntary moving, such as breathing.

spinal cord
3. It’s a conductor

The reason you can get up and walk right now is that the spinal cord carries signals to the legs to extend, stand, and start the walking movements.

4. An injury can disrupt these signals

A spinal cord injury can affect the transmission of signals between the nerve cells and different parts of the body.

5. It can’t repair itself

While other parts of the body can regenerate and heal, the spinal cord cannot.

6. It ends in a Horse’s Tail

The end of the spinal cord is also called cauda equina due to its similarity to a horse’s tail. It’s located in the upper portion of the lumbar region and the nerve cells here send signals to your lower limbs and pelvic region.

7. It’s highly protected

You’ll be happy to know there is a vertebral column that covers and protects your spinal cord daily. Inside the column lies the spinal canal, which is the cavity that holds the spinal cord.

8. It’s divided into 31 segments

The spinal cord is quite a complex system with many types of nerve cells: cervical, lumbar, thoracic, sacral, etc.

9. It grows until you’re five years old

The spinal cord usually develops along with you until the age of 5. After that, your body will continue to grow around it.

10. It can function independently from the brain

The spinal cord doesn’t take all its signals from your brain. In some cases, it can send signals to muscles on its own.

Spinal Cord Conditions and Treatments

The spinal cord is responsible for so many important daily functions that injuries or conditions that affect it can often have devastating consequences, such as spinal stenosis, pain, swelling, and even paralysis.

If you’re dealing with a spinal cord injury, Gen Physio may be able to assist you with in-home care to help relieve your discomfort.

Contact us to find out more.

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