Welcome to a journey through the intricate world of your spine, a marvel of engineering and biology. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the essential components and functions of your spine, shedding light on how it supports your body and why it’s crucial to maintain its health. The working unit of the spine is formed by two vertebrae (blocks of bone) and the disc in between. The blocks of bone articulate (connect) with each other via two facet joints (Roof Tiles) and the disc sandwiched between the bodies of the vertebrae. They work together in conjunction with other structures like ligaments and muscles (Core Muscle).
X-ray of lumbar spine explaining The Working Unit – The doughnut cushion (Disc) outlined in red is sandwiched between two blocks of bone (Vertebra). The facet joints (outlined in yellow) are arranged like Roof Tiles one on top of each other.
MRI scan of Lumbar spine illustrating a worn out (Dehydrated) disc. The doughnut shaped disc (outlined in blue) is brighter in appearance when compared to one below (outlined in red); this is because it is hydrated or has more water content. The dehydrated disc in red appears to be darker (also called Black Disc), flatter and bulging.
MRI scan of Lumbar spine comparing normal disc with dehydrated disc
Facet Joints: The Roof Tiles of Your Spine
CT scan of Lower (Lumbar) Spine and Upper (Cervical) illustrating facet joints.Facet joint of the neck is outlined in blue to demonstrate the Roof Tile pattern. The lumbar spine facet joint (outlined in red) is lined with cartilage (Blue) to facilitate movement at this joint.