Why Backs Go Bad: The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord are is really an extension of the brain, it collects all the signals from the body, and sends and receives signals from the brain. The spinal cord begins at the base of the brain, and runs through the spinal column, beginning at the atlas and axis, and terminating just above the sacrum (though we make experience back pain due to damage below the spinal cord). The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve cells and fibers with a diameter the size of a PC computer cable and individual fibers about as big around as a drink straw. The spinal cord transmits the signals of all the nerves of all the body, in the form of electrical signals, to and from the brain. The spinal cord transmits its information to and from the body through 31 pairs of smaller nerve bundles called nerve roots. Through these nerve roots then branch hundreds of times, supplying every organ system, organ, and tissue with information so that we may be able to sense, feel, tough, and do. The brain also translates signals transmitted from all of these nerve branches, and may interpret some of these signals as pain.



The spinal canal is the opening through which the spinal cord passes through the spinal column. The human body has an amazing ability to heal itself, but some spinal cord injuries do not lend themselves to healing. To prevent the spinal cord injuries, the spinal cord is surrounded in a liquid called cerebrospinal fluid, which helps to cushion and protect the spinal cord. The brain is also surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. The vertebral column itself also protect the spinal cord.

Ligaments. Ligaments and muscles also provide flexibility to the spine while also providing it flexibility and the ability to move. Ligaments are tough bands of connective tissue that attach bone to bone. Some of the ligaments that protect the spine include the intertransverse ligament, ligamentum flavum, and facet capsulary ligament. The two main ligaments that play a role in back pain include the anterior longitudinal ligament and posterior longitudinal ligament, which run the length of the back and hold together all of the spine's structures. The structural integrity and proper functioning of these ligaments are essential in controlling motion of the spine, while allowing flexibility.

Back Muscles. The flexors and extensors are the two main muscles groups responsible for back function. The flexors, located at the front of the spine, include your hip and abdominal muscles. The flexors attach at your lumbar spine and enable to bend forward. Some of the flexor muscles of the spine include the Psoas Major, Intertransversarii, Longus Colli Cervicis, and Rectus Capitus Anterior. The extensors include many muscles that attach to the spine and work together to hold your back straight while enabling you to extend or arch it. Some of the extensor muscles of the spine include the Longissimus Lumborum, , Iliocostalis Lumborum, and Semispinalis Thoracis. Other associated muscles enable rotation, sideways bending, and twisting of the spine and back.

Unless there is a major accident or trauma that you have suffered, your back or neck pain is unlikely be caused by damage to the spinal cord itself.