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Quiz: What Do You Know About Your Spine?

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As you get older, you grow more bones in your back.

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As you get older, you grow more bones in your back.

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Your spine is made up of many bones. Called vertebrae, they’re ring-shaped and stacked on top of one another. Most people are born with 33, but by the time you reach adulthood, you’ll probably have only 24. As you grow, some of the bones grow together.

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Astronauts get taller in space. 

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Astronauts get taller in space. 

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Here on Earth, gravity weighs you down, smooshing down the springy discs in between your back bones. In space, that doesn’t happen and the spine lengthens. Astronauts can grow up to 3% taller in space. When they return to the Earth’s gravity, they go back to their normal height.

Which have the most neck bones?

Which have the most neck bones?

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It may come as a surprise, but giraffes have the same number of bones in their neck as humans do. Most mammals have seven neck bones. But the three-toed sloth has nine.

From the side, your spine looks most like what letter? 

From the side, your spine looks most like what letter? 

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The curves of the spine support your body weight. They help you balance and stand upright. The top part of your spine supports the weight of your head, which is 10 to 12 pounds. The lower part holds most of your body’s weight.

If you have a slipped disc, it has fallen out of place.

If you have a slipped disc, it has fallen out of place.

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Think of discs as shock absorbers. Stacked between the bones of your spine, they have a tough outside but a soft springy filling, like a jelly doughnut. They’re like little pillows that soften the shock of standing, walking, and running. When you have a slipped disc, the soft jelly inside has squished out from a tear. That can cause pain, weakness, or numbness.

Which sleeping position is best for your back?

Which sleeping position is best for your back?

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When you sleep on your stomach, it can cause back strain and hurt your neck.

 

Sleeping on your back puts extra pressure on it. You can reduce that by sleeping with a couple of pillows under your knees. Resting on your side with a pillow between your knees also helps.

 

To help your back while you’re awake, keep a healthy weight, sit with your knees a little higher than your hips.  Stop smoking too. It cuts blood flow to your discs, making them less cushiony.

A week of bed rest is best for a hurt back. 

A week of bed rest is best for a hurt back. 

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A day or two of rest might help you feel better, but more than two days can make you weak and cause more pain. A little bit of exercise will help you more than bed rest and medications if you have neck or back pain. So get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour, even if it hurts.

Your wallet can be bad for your back. 

Your wallet can be bad for your back. 

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If you keep your wallet in your back pocket, you might want to consider carrying it somewhere else, or at least removing any items you don’t need to carry.

 

And think about storing it in a safe place while you work. Sitting on it all day can cause back pain and discomfort.

 

Only adults get back pain.

Only adults get back pain.

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Low back pain tends to bother people 30-plus, kids with overloaded backpacks can have problems too.

 

Lighten their load and save their backs by teaching them to:

  • Bend with their knees when picking up heavy packs.
  • Keep books in their lockers and desks when possible.

A backpack with wheels can help if they have to carry heavy loads.

 

Adults can lessen their chances of low back pain by staying fit and avoiding a sudden burst of overdoing it.

 

 

The higher the spinal cord injury, the more damage.
 

The higher the spinal cord injury, the more damage.  

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The place of spinal cord injuries does make a difference. Someone with an injury in the neck might be completely paralyzed. An injury lower on the spinal cord could mean loss of movement in the legs and chest.

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