5431 Jonestown Rd

Harrisburg, PA 17112 US

(717) 540-8448

Open mobile navigation

Understanding How the Spine Works

Pointing at spine

A Guide to the Functionality of Your Spine

The movements we take for granted wouldn't be possible without a healthy spine. Thanks to your strong backbone, you can jump over a puddle, bend to pick up your dropped keys, or twist to reach your lunch in the backseat of your car.

The Parts of the Spine and What They Do

The spine is made up of small bones called the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord, support your body and help you move easily. Each vertebra contains a rounded section, known as the vertebral body, and finger-like projections called processes. The muscles in your back are attached to these processes with bands of connective tissues called tendons. Ligaments connect the vertebrae together and help keep your spine stable when you move.

The spinal cord, a thick bundle of nerve fibers that transmit impulses from the brain, passes through a hollow area in the middle of the vertebra. These impulses keep your organs and immune system functioning properly, tell your muscles to contract when you move, and control breathing and other bodily functions. Nerves branch out from the spinal cord and travel to the various parts of your body.

Vertebrae also contain facet joints, sections of cartilage where two vertebrae meet. Facet joints are responsible for the flexibility and stability of your spine and help you turn, twist and bend. Small rubbery discs between each vertebra cushion your spine and absorb shock.

Your spine isn't perfectly straight but forms an "S" shape. This shape keeps your weight evenly distributed, enhances flexibility, and reduces pressure on your back.

The 33 vertebrae in your spine are divided into these five sections:

  • Cervical Spine: The cervical spine starts at the base of your head and contains seven vertebrae. These vertebrae support your head and neck and make it possible to turn your head.
  • Thoracic Spine: The 12 thoracic vertebrae start at the bottom of your neck. They connect to your ribs and help support your chest and torso.
  • Lumbar Spine: Five lumbar vertebrae make up your lower back. Since this area supports most of your body's weight, it's the most frequently injured part of the back.
  • Sacrum: The sacrum is a triangular piece of bone formed of five vertebrae fused together. The sacrum connects to the hips and doesn't move, unlike your other vertebrae. It supports your pelvis and keeps it stable.
  • Coccyx (Tailbone): Your tailbone is actually made up of four vertebrae fused together. Although this part of the spine also doesn't move, it provides an anchoring point for ligaments and muscles in your pelvis.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Pain in your spine can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Problems with Discs: Disc herniation, a problem that occurs when the soft inner core of the disk protrudes through the tough outer covering, can cause pain, numbness, and tingling. Herniated discs can occur due to injuries or aging.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis can affect any joint in your body, including the facet joints in your back.
  • Subluxations: Subluxations occur when the vertebrae become misaligned. Injuries can cause subluxations, they can also occur if you sit for long hours or have poor posture.
  • Tight Muscles: Muscle tension can cause backaches and may be related to subluxations. Misaligned vertebrae tend to pull on muscles, causing pain and tension.
  • Sprains and Strains: Strains or sprains in the muscles and ligaments in your back can happen if you lift a heavy object or twist your back too far.
  • Pinched Nerves: Misaligned vertebrae, tight muscles, or herniated discs may press against the nerves in your back, triggering pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.
  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis, a condition usually diagnosed during childhood, occurs when the spine curves sideways. Back pain and muscle spasms can be related to scoliosis. You may also notice that one shoulder is higher than the other.

As much as we rely on our spines, it's not surprising that back pain is a common complaint. In fact, 80% of Americans can expect to experience back pain at some point in their lives, according to statistics from the American Chiropractic Association.

Chiropractic treats the source of back pain and helps keep your spine properly aligned. Are you frustrated by nagging back pain? Give us a call and we'll help you make an appointment with a chiropractor.

Sources:

American Chiropractic Association: Back Pain Facts and Statistics

National Center for Biotechnology Information: How Does the Spine Work? 2/14/19

University of Maryland Medical Center: A Patient’s Guide to Anatomy and Function of the Spine

Cleveland Clinic: Spine Structure and Function

This screening is entirely FREE!

** Due to Federal Regulations, This offer does not apply to Medicare/Medicaid. **

Regular Office Hours

By Appointment Only

Monday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Great Doctor! Amazing Staff! The first time I went to skocik chiropractor I was in a lot of pain but after just a few months I feel so much better."
    Waslat W.
  • "Very great dr.Skocik, and amazing nurses they definitely know what they doing."
    Alona L.
  • "Helped me with a damaged disk.very knowledgeable and a great way to go to handle pain in a natural way."
    Tommy H
  • "The best Chiropractor in town."
    Bryan D.
  • "Good experience. Explains things patiently. Friendly Staff"
    Amit K.
  • "The staff is all great and Dr. Skocik is one of the best and nicest chiropractors."
    Matthew G.
  • "Dr. Skocik did a wonderful job helping me get back to normal. He explained things in detail. A very pleasant and courteous atmosphere. I found my go to chiropractor!!"
    Diane L.
  • "Dr Sk is thorough in his exams and explanations of recommended treatment and process. The staff are courteous, friendly and professional. I have seen improvement in my range of motion, mobility and reduction of pain in back and spine."
    Arlis V.
  • "I love this place. I have been going through a rough time, injuries, employment, school, death in the family, and stress. Dr. Skocik and his staff are a blessing. They have been there to help me not only with my injuries but with my life in general. No matter how much pain and misery I may be going through, I always leave feeling better and with a smile on my face. I think the entire staff is awsome."
    Melissa J.
  • "Quote from the movie The best exotic marigold hotel- β€œMost things don’t work out as expected, but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff.” - reminded me of you all. Thank you for helping me through my rough and frustrating healing process !!"
    Shirly P.
  • "Great office, sure had helped me"
    William G.
  • "Thank you to the entire team, Dr. Skocik, Kourtnay, Shannon, Nicole, and Daphne for taking great care of me. From not being able to walk to using a cane to now...you are a god-send! Highly recommended!!!!!"
    Dwayne D.
  • "Thanks"
    Jody B.
  • "Very nice people."
    Kim D.
  • "Great Doctor! Amazing Staff! The first time I went to skocik chiropractor I was in a lot of pain but after just a few months I feel so much better."
    Waslat W.
  • "In addition to the standard chiropractic services, Skocik also offers massage. The massage therapist is awesome, the prices are fantastic and I have never left anything but totally satisfied. You do give up a tiny bit of ambiance compared to a "spa", but what you get is more than worth it in my opinion. Highly recommended."
    Tiffany I.
  • "I appreciate Dr Skocik calling me at home to inquire about my recovery!
    Try stem cell & PRP therapy. It's worth it if it means having your life back without surgery!"
    Regenerative Medicine Patient O. Olagbemi
  • "I have been coming to this office for years and I would refer anyone to come to this office I never have had a bad experience."
    J. Weldon
  • "I like the combination of services they have.
    Adjustments, Maintenance, Physical Therapy options, massage and laser therapy.
    Not many places have that."
    A. Schultz
  • "The staff was very welcoming & make you feel completely comfortable. I would recommend them to anyone."
    T. Mahone
  • "Great Chiropactor , great staff, they are passionate about what they do and it shines through. I would highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic ! πŸ‘"
    T. Romberger
  • "Dr Skocik treats his patients like family, great rehab equipment, phenomenal staff and amazing massage therapists!!!"
    T. Warner
  • "I go here for massages, best you'll find in the area, and very good prices. The large office that has a wide range of chiropractic treatment equipment, and is a complete back treatment and rehab facility."
  • "This office is highly professional and organized! Great chiro service and I highly recommend!"
    J. LeCadre
  • "Simply the best! Period."
    J. Williams
  • "Dr. Skocik office treats you like family, wonderful staff and I will recommend anyone to his office.πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘"
    K. Trollinger
  • "Amazing first impression and excellent, thorough exam for diagnosis. Physical therapy feels great."
    C. Campbell
  • "This office is organized and very professional, great chiro care! Would definitely recommend this office!"
    C. Myers
  • "I've been seeing Dr. Skocik for many years. Very professional office, he and his staff take great care of me. I recommend them often."
    T. Mowatt
  • "Absolutely love Dr. Skocik and his staff!!! I treated with this practice for several years after a really bad fall, thanks to the wonderful chiropractic care and massage therapy I am pain free and have my mobility back!! Highly recommend Dr. Skocik!!!"
    T. Coffman
  • "Coming from Toronto and seized up shoulder. Dr went way out of his way on a Saturday to open the clinic for me to assess. Very professional and kind. Wonderful."
    A.C.
  • "Doctor Skocik is really sincere about helping people"
    J. Peiffer
  • "What I love about my experience. I was able to be seen with in a 24 hours window..For those who suffer from lower back pain will truly understand how important that is. For that alone i give you five stars .. Excellent staff"
    F. Jackson
  • "I love coming here. The staff is very Friendly! I have had all kinds of issues with my back and ever since I started coming here i have made lots of improvement. I highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic!"
    Jessica C.
  • "The level of care, from the chiropractic services, to the massage therapy..to the office staff...EVERYONE treats you like family. I can honestly say that their is a genuine concern for your progress and well being.
    I would highly recommend."
    Craig W.
  • "I have always had a good experience with them and I have been a patient for a number of years. They are very nice about rescheduling appointments. The staff is always very friendly and I have always found them reasonably priced."
    L. Henninger
  • "I had a great experience in Skocik Chiropractic and they are very professional and fixed my lower back pain problem. My whole family goes to this practice and we highly recommend to other people."
    F. Zhang
  • "Skocik Chiropractic was very personable and informative. Dr. Skocik and his staff purposefully takes care of their patients with attentiveness and professionalism. I enjoyed my time there and highly recommend Skocik Chiropractic."
    B. Wanda

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles