5. Vertebra story


Fetus grows in the mothers uterine cavity. As time passes, uterine cavity becomes enlarged, but the fetus grows at an even faster rate. Therefore, in the uterine cavity becoming narrower, the fetus has to contract its whole body. Not only the limbs, but also the trunk and the head have to be contracted forward, which makes the vertebral column curved. When a baby is born, a big change occurs to the vertebral column. As the baby raises the head, the cervical vertebra is curved forward. Likewise, as the baby stands with the lower limbs, the lumbar vertebra also becomes curved forward. To summarize, among vertebrae that form the vertebral column, 7 cervical vertebrae are forward-curved, 12 thoracic vertebrae are rear-curved, 5 lumbar vertebrae are forward-curved, and the sacrum is rear-curved.


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I am overweight, so I have a pot belly. To pretend that I am not obese, I use the curvature of the lumbar vertebrae as an excuse. "My belly is not a pot belly. Its just that my waist is caved in. In other words, my lumbar vertebrae are exceptionally curved forward. Due to the gravity, my lumbar vertebrae bulge even more, and as people age, people become like me." Of course, it is nonsense.

As I mentioned, the vertebral column consists of many vertebrae. Between neighboring vertebrae, there are intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are soft cartilage, which enables them to have a little movement. Since intervertebral discs are consecutively located, the vertebral column has more room for movement. However, 12 thoracic vertebrae are held by 12 pairs of ribs, which strictly limit vertebral movement. The sacrum is completely unmovable, since there is only one sacrum. Instead, cervical vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae can be moved a lot. So intervertebral discs of vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae moves a lot, then intervertebral discs can escape and can push cervical nerves and lumbar nerves.


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In Korea, cervical vertebrae which are located upward are bent by superiors, and lumbar vertebrae located at lower part are bent by subordinates. It is easy to memorize. Subordinates should greet their superiors by lumbar vertebrae. One can meet same superior couple times a day, and until the third time it is safe to greet with lumbar vertebrae.


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At cervical vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae, movement of moving left and right also occurs along with movement of bending forward and backward. Among these, movement of cervical vertebrae is funny. Upper joint of first cervical vertebrae makes our neck bend and stretch forward and backward. In other words, it is related to nodding one's head, so it is a joint of affirmation. The lower joint of first cervical vertebrae makes our neck move left and right. Therefore it is a joint of denial.


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I showed the upper and lower joint of first cervical vertebrae to a student and said, "Joint of affirmation is located higher than joint of denial. This is because affirmation is loftier than denial. Therefore, you guys should nod your head thinking that nothing is impossible." Then couple days later, I was frustrated due to losing my wallet, and a student who saw that came to me and said, "I can't say You can't be happy, but you can be happy." She smiled and went away.