- $38.99 for a 60-minute massage and 30-minute chiropractic counsel and exam ($115 value)
Spinal Vertebrae: The Skeletal Support System
Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating troubles with the spine. Before your appointment, bone up on your body’s tower of bones.
The human spine is made up of a stack of 33 bones, called vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord and support the entire upper body, all while producing red blood cells. Though nine of these bones are fused together, 24 of them are articulated, allowing for the controlled movement needed to tilt one’s head, lean to the side, or bend forward. Starting at the base of the skull and extending down to the tailbone, the vertebrae are organized into four distinct areas, each of which serves a unique skeletal function:
Cervical: The cervical region contains the smallest vertebrae in the spine. The top two, called the atlas and axis, allow the head to turn right and left while crossing the street or posing for a hieroglyphic portrait.
Thoracic: Forming the longest part of the spinal column, the thoracic vertebrae can also move, though their range of motion is limited compared to the regions above and below. That’s because these vertebrae connect to the ribs, holding in place the bones that protect many of the body’s major organs.
Lumbar: Lumbar vertebrae are linked by joints, known as facet joints, that are similar to the ones in our fingers. This allows for the extended range of motion needed to bend forward or backward. Because these vertebrae bear a high proportion of the body’s weight, this region is particularly prone to pain and injury.
Sacrum/Coccyx: Most of the vertebrae in the sacrum and coccyx region are fused; a joint connects the two regions, allowing for limited motion. The sacrum supports the pelvis, while the coccyx, otherwise known as the tailbone, absorbs the shock of sitting down after learning your tail has started to grow again.