Mind the Back

October 30, 2012


*”To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”

We (and by “we” I mean me, myself and I)  are starting a new category section on the blog called ‘Beautiful Body’ which is dedicated to the mystery and amazing thing that is the body, male and female. The BACK is the first body part of many future blog post that will celebrate the human anatomy. Stay tuned for the next body part we will be featuring, mens eyes (oohh la la!)

I think the back is one of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body. The mystery in its beauty is buried within the subtle shape it so boldly takes.

 Well, without further ado, behold the beautiful back!

The spinal column is generally thought to consist of the series of vertebrae forming the skeleton along the back – it houses the spinal cord, spinal discs, muscles, ligaments and nerves.

The spinal column has several very important functions – it supports the body’s weight, provides flexibility for movement, protects nerve roots and fibers and forms a protective surrounding for the spinal cord – the main pathway of communication between the brain and the rest of the body.


Both giraffes and humans have seven vertebrae in their necks.

The first set of vertebrae (the cervical vertebrae found in the neck) are also called the Atlas. Atlas is a character from Greek mythology who, after losing a fight, was turned to stone and had to carry the weight of the Earth and the Heavens on his shoulders. The cervical vertebrae were also given this name as they carry the weight of the head.

As babies, we have 33 vertebrae but as adults we end up with 26. What happens to the nine remaining bones? Four of them will fuse to make our tailbone and five fuse to make the back of the pelvis.

Those suffering from back pain who do not undertake special exercises and training to strengthen and rehabilitate their deep back muscles are 22 times more likely to have a recurrence of back pain.


One quarter of the spine’s length is made up from cartilage.

The spine contains over 120 muscles, 220 ligaments and over 100 joints.










Since cartilage discs expand in the absence of gravity, astronauts returning from space may be 1.5 to 2 inches taller than when they left.


Gravity’s effect on cartilage is also the cause of humans shrinking between a quarter of an inch and five inches every decade after the age of 40. It also means we are generally taller in the morning than at night because of the daily effect of gravity on the body.

Spinal disks are very strong tissues filled with a gel which helps support the spine. They allow the spine to move, too.


Spinal ligaments help connect the vertebrae and are important for keeping the spine stable.


Four out of five adults will experience some type of back pain during their lifetime. Back pain is considered the second most common location of pain experienced – headaches are considered the first.


The spine is so flexible it can bend far enough to form two thirds of a circle.

Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain experienced. This is because the lower back twists and bends more than any other part of the back and it also bears the weight of the upper body.

The spine is extremely strong – it can bear the pressure of hundreds of kilograms.

Investing in a back support is one of the best ways to prevent back injuries and pain often brought about by poor posture when sitting in a chair, at a desk or while driving.


“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where you backbone ought to be.”
Clementine Paddleford

“A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That’s where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.”
-Robert Kiyosaki

“Guts are a combination of confidence, courage, conviction, strength of character, stick-to-itiveness, pugnaciousness, backbone, and intestinal fortitude. They are mandatory for anyone who wants to get to and stay at the top.” – D. A. Benton

“The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone.” – William J. H. Boetcker

“Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone”

“Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fiber and, in some cases, backbone.” –  Terry Pratchett

“The backbone of success is usually found in old-fashioned, basic concepts like hard work, determination, good planning and perseverance.” -Mia Hamm

One things for sure, if nothing else gained from this post, at least the benefits of that tiered line echoed by most teachers and parents to “sit up straight!” our whole lives was most useful and true. The fact is, despite the eye-rollage it may cause, standing up straight is not just a thing of health, but a thing of poise, elegance and confidence, and that’s worth sitting up for.

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
Malcolm X