What does your spine do?

Written by rebeccah

On average, our spine is made up of 24 vertebral bones as adults, is supported by round 240 muscles and holds many functions to support day to day life. 

Light purple background with three identical, animated images of the bones of the spine.

What function does it have?

Our spine has four main directions of movement, allowing us to bend forwards, backwards, sideways and to twist. 

It also provides structure and protection of our spinal cord filled with nerves that send signals to the from from our organs and tissues based on what sensations they recognise (such as heat, stretch and pain) and the brain returns these signals through the spinal cord to promote motor function such as moving our limbs. 

Common causes of pain:

The back is one of the most frequent areas where people experience pain. This could be from:

  • Weak back and abdominal muscles from a lack of physical activity. 
  • Overuse of your back such as working in a field that requires frequent bending, twisting or heavy lifting e.g. gardening. 
  • Poor posture. 
  • Sleeping in a the wrong position. 
  • Accidents or injuries such as a fall or car accident. 
  • High stress levels. 

So how can we protect our spine?

  • Be mindful of your back when lifting heavy objects:
    • Lift with your legs by bending at the knees and not bending your back
    • Keep the object close to the body
    • Move your feet rather than twisting your back. 
  • Strengthen your muscles: your core (abdominal) and back muscles are essential in supporting your back movements. This can be through cardio or weight training exercises. 
  • Allow plenty of rest, particularly after activities that require frequent bending or twisting such as gardening. 
  • Stretch regularly: muscle groups such as your hamstrings can out pressure on your back and pelvis when they are tight. 
  • Use a back support on your desk chair. 
  • Sleeping in a neutral position such as on your back with a pillow beneath your knees or on your side with s pillow between your knees, helps to reduce stress on your spine overnight.
  • Get up from your desk frequently and go for a short walk to stretch your back. 
  • See a massage therapist to relieve stress and tension in the muscles supporting your back.
  • Visit your chiropractor regularly to relieve stress on your spine, fix misalignments and prevent injuries.

Book an appointment with our chiropractor or massage therapist here or call us on 9651 5559. 

Find more of our health tips here


George, M. 2019. 7 tips to protect your lower back. Spine Health. https://www.spine-health.com/blog/7-tips-protect-your-lower-back

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. 2023. Back Pain. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain

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