How does posture affect the health of the spine?

How does the spine work?

The front part of the vertebra is called the vertebral body. Between the vertebral bodies there are a total of 23 elastic intervertebral discs - except between the skull and the first cervical vertebra and between the first and second cervical vertebra. The sacrum and coccyx are immobile and consist only of bones.

The intervertebral discs consist of a solid, multilayered shell made of cartilage fiber and a gel-like core (gelatinous core). They ensure that the spine is flexible and that you can bend down or turn your upper body. They also cushion shocks that are transmitted to the spine when running or jumping, for example.

When the discs are stressed, they lose fluid and become thinner; when the load is relieved, they absorb fluid and become thicker again. Since a person usually loads their spine during the day and relieves it at night, they are around 1.5 to 2 cm smaller in the evening than in the morning.

Signs of wear and tear set in over the course of many years. The intervertebral discs become narrower with age, the vertebral bodies sit closer together and the spine curves more strongly. This is why an old person is usually a few centimeters shorter than when he was younger. Signs of wear and tear on the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs are also known as spondylosis. However, possible complaints can usually not be clearly attributed to this, since such changes are very common even in people without complaints.

With the exception of the first two cervical vertebrae and the sacrum and coccyx, all vertebrae consist of the vertebral body lying forward and the "spinous process" pointing backward. Both parts are connected by the vertebral arch, which forms a cavity in its center: the vertebral hole. The vertebral holes lying one above the other form the vertebral canal in which the spinal cord runs.