Anatomy of the Body
In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of the body, and how certain structures are affected by a fully functioning spinal cord and spinal nerves. While the workings of the musculoskeletal system are the ones that are most often discussed in relation to the nervous system and spinal nerves, all systems are affected by the way spinal cord is working. In the event of an injury to one or more of the spinal nerves, the communication between the body and the spine may become disrupted, resulting in the loss of motor control (paralysis) as well as the loss of functioning of the other symptoms. In all, the body systems include the:
- Skeletal System: The skeletal system includes all of the bones of the body as well as the joints and other connective tissues that separate and move the bones. There are a total of 206 individual bones in the body, and each bone is made up of a solid material that is designed to make the structure strong and resistant to fracture. The blood in our body originates in the bone marrow that is located in the largest, weight bearing bones of our body, such as the femurs and humerus. The Bones of our body are composed of cartilage, bone marrow, a periosteum, endosteum, and cartilage. The shape and width of the bones depend on the section of the body they are and their particular function. There are long bones, short bones, flat bones, Sesamoid bones, and irregular bones. The vertebral bones, which make up the backbone of our spine, are Irregular bones. Irregular bones have an irregular shape. The ribs, which attach to the vertebra, are long bones, as are the humerus of the arm and the femur of the leg.
Though we think of the bones of our body as permanent and solid, in fact they are living organs in our body that are always changing in composition and density. The bones are involved in the production of our body's blood, as well as maintaining a balanced composition of chemicals in the bloodstream. Each bone is made up of minerals, protein fibers, and many cells. The skeletal system also provides for the points of attachments for the bones. These points of attachment, known as the joints and connective tissues such as the tendons and ligaments, serve two primary purposes: the movement of the body, and the separation of the bones so that they don't grind together and become worn out. The bones of our skeleton are arranged into two main divisions: the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is made up of the bones that compose spine as well as the bones that directly connect to the spine. These bones include the vertebrae (spinal bones), those of the skull, the ribs, sternum, and pelvis. The appendicular skeleton includes the bones of the arms and legs, shoulder girdle, and pelvic girdle.
- Cardiovascular System: the cardiovascular system consists of the heart and two networks of blood vessels. The blood vessels transport blood from the heart and two the tissues of the body, and back again. The blood vessels transport oxygenated blood as they leave the heart, and deoxygenated blood from the body tissues and back to the heart again. The blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart are the arteries and arterioles (smaller branches of the arteries). The blood vessels that carry deoxygenated blood away from the body's tissues are the veins and venules (smaller branches of veins). The exceptions to these rules are the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs, and pulmonary veins, which carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart.
In the event of spinal cord injuries, the central respiratory drive to breath may be disrupted, so that the body is unable to breathe on its own without a ventilator. When the central drive to breath has been disrupted, this event is usually due to spinal cord injuries at the level of C1 (Atlas) or C2 (Axis). These are the top two vertebral bones of the cervical spine (neck).
- Digestive system: the digestive system includes the long continuous organ known as the digestive (Gastrointestinal or GI) tract, as well as other supportive structures that aid in our bodies' digestion of foods and liquids. The supportive structures of the GI track include the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
In the event of spinal cord injuries, digestion continues though a person may lose control of where and when a person is able to evacuate their bowels.
- Endocrine System
- Nervous System
- Respiratory system
- Immune/Lymphatic Systems
- Urinary Systems: the urinary systems include the KUB (kidneys, ureters, bladder) in both males and females. In both males and females, there is a urethra that carries urine from the apex of the bladder to the outside of the both. In able-bodied humans, we have control over our external urethral orifice, which we relax to release urine to the outside of our bodies. In the event of a spinal cord injury, we may lose control of this function and not be able to control when we evacuate out bladders.
- Reproductive Systems
- Integumentary Systems