There are 24 bones, called vertebrae, that make up the adult spine.
These bones enclose the spinal cord, which together with the brain comprises the central nervous system. Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that the spinal cord has 24 attachments to each of these bones to ensure stability, right? Wrong! The spinal cord actually has attachments only at a few key vertebrae located at the top and bottom of the spine.
An easy way to picture this is to envision the spinal cord as a guitar string. The strings of a guitar are attached at tuning pegs at the top of the guitar and the bridge at the bottom. String tension can be loosened or tightened at the tuning pegs to allow for a properly tuned instrument. A guitar string too loose or too taut may make sound, but it won’t allow you to play beautiful music.
Similarly, we adjust at the top and the bottom of the spine to relieve traction, tension or compression of the spinal cord. A spinal cord too loose or too taut will change the messages sent to the nerves that control our cells, tissues and organs preventing us from functioning optimally. Just as you would rather listen to an in tune guitar, wouldn’t you rather live with an in tune nervous system?