Most people have a basic idea of what the spinal cord is, but it is not uncommon for them to ask more about it. Your spinal cord is about a foot and a half long and runs down the center of your backbone. Protected by bone and tissue, it carries nerve signals for reflexes and movement. Injuries to the spinal cord occur in any of the four main regions of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.
Cervical segments of the spine control your head through your hands. The thoracic region covers the bulk of the upper body, ranging from the upper to lower back. Chest and abdominal muscles are included in this area. Lumbar nerves control hip flexors, quadriceps, and other key muscles of the lower back and legs, extending all the way down into the toes. Sacral nerves reach down the back of your legs into your heels and feet.
In short, the spinal cord is an integral part of your nervous system. When it is damaged, bruised, or disconnected, there are serious consequences for your body. Injuries can affect or impair the performance of any nervous function at or below the injury site. Enabling mobility is only one task of the spinal cord. Your body relies on your spinal cord for healthy internal functions and responses.
Still curious? See more on spinal cord anatomy here.
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