Humans are the only mammals walking on two limbs all the time, and for this function, a special structure must exist. Our backbone (the vertebral column) is that structure. Its curves and the sizes of its individual vertebrae, as well as the intervertebral discs, are essential for it to keep its function. A herniated disc is one of the commonest and most bothersome conditions of the backbone. It can be very disabling for a patient and can turn him from a healthy individual into a bedridden one within days. In this article we will see why our vertebral column is fascinating, what causes a herniated disc, its symptoms, diagnosis, and how it can be managed by simple home remedies or when to seek professional medical care.
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Our vertebral column
Our vertebral column is a tall bony structure that consists of smaller units called vertebrae. We have 33 vertebrae arranged in 5 groups, 2 of which are not mobile and the upper 3 are. The first group is called the cervical group and is in the neck. It consists of 7 vertebrae and is highly mobile. The second group is the thoracic group and is the one attached to the ribs forming the chest cage, the number of its vertebrae is 12 and its mobility is quite limited. The third group is the lumbar spine and consists of 5 vertebrae. The lumbar spine is wider than that of the chest and neck and is responsible for the movement of our back while bending over. The last 2 groups form the sacrum -which is part of the pelvis- and the coccyx which is the small tailbone. Both groups are immobile and their vertebrae are fused together.