The spinal cord is one of the most important parts of the human body, if not the most important. But there is a lot about the spinal cord that we do not know. The following is a list of facts designed to help us expand our knowledge about the spinal cord and learn more about its most interesting characteristics.
1. Works Independently
The spinal cord does not always need to receive signals from the brain in order to do its job. In certain situations, it works on its own and is able to send important messages directly to the muscles.
2. It Is Not Especially Thick
A person would typically assume that the spinal cord would be quite thick, since it serves such an important function in the human body. However, the spinal cord is only 1 centimeter thick and it does not continue to grow past the age of five.
3. The Spinal Cord Remembers
A spinal cord has phenomenal memory, which is why it is important to treat it right from an early age. Having the proper posture and ensuring that your back is well taken care of are both very important to the spinal cord’s long term health.
4. Giraffes And Humans Are More Similar Than You Think
Did you know that giraffes and humans both have the same amount of vertebrae in their neck? Tall people, the next time someone calls you a giraffe, just smile and say, “I know I am and so are you.”
5. We Lose Vertebrae As We Age
When we are first born, we start off with 33 vertebrae, but we only end up with 24 by adulthood. Why is this? The nine that we lose go to other areas of the body. Four of the vertebrae end up forming the tailbone, while the other five are used to create the back of the person’s pelvis.
6. Spinal Disorders Are Very Prevalent
Out of the entire disabled population, the highest percentage are people who suffer from disorders related to the health of their spinal cord.
7. Extremely Flexible
Your spinal cord is so unbelievably flexible, if it were to be removed from the body and bent, it could form at least two thirds of a perfect circle.
8. Gravity Affects Height
Since the spinal cord is roughly 25 percent cartilage, this can affect our height. An astronaut may grow an inch or two upon returning from space, thanks to the expansion of their cartilage disks. The rest of us are at our tallest when we first awaken, due to gravity’s shrinking effect throughout the day.
9. The Spine Is Strong
Don’t let its lack of girth fool you, the spine is absurdly powerful, as it can support hundreds of kilograms worth of pressure before breaking.
10. Contains Many Working Parts
The spinal cord has over 100 joints, at least 220 ligaments and over 120 total muscles.