Below is a brief explanation of the anatomy of the spinal column and the central nervous system.
The spinal column consists of seven neck vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae. Between each of these vertebrae is an intervertebral disc. The disc acts as a shock absorber. The vertebrae are connected to each other by two joints called the facet joints.
The spinal column has multiple functions:
- stability – the skeleton gives the body it’s shape and its stability
- movement – the spinal column is a collection of segments that makes movements such as bending and turning possible
- protection – the spinal column protects the spinal cord.The pelvis is the base on which the spinal column rests and it supports the body’s weight. The pelvis consists of a central section – the sacrum – and the two hip bones. These are connected to each other by the sacroiliac joints, or SI joints.
Central nervous system
The central nervous system can be divided according to location (central and peripheral) or function (somatic nervous system and autonomic). The central nervous system is found in the skull, in the brain, and in the spinal cord in the spinal column. The nerves – the peripheral nervous system – extend out from the spinal cord between each vertebra to the organs, the muscles and the tissue. This connects the brain to the rest of the body.
Impulses from the brain are sent to the muscles through the motor nerves. Sensory information is transmitted to the brain through the sensory nerves. The autonomic nervous system is the unconscious part of the nervous system. The autonomic nervous system, also known as the vegetative nervous system, regulates our internal processes such as breathing, heartbeat, digestive system, blood pressure and other functions of the organs. The autonomic nervous system is divided into a sympathetic nervous system and a parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system regulates the body when it is active, and the parasympathetic nervous system regulates the body when it is at rest. The somatic nervous system regulates the conscious reactions and the reflexes. The senses and the skeletal muscles are a part of these reactions and reflexes. The somatic nervous system controls the posture and the movement of the body.
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