I’ll bet you didn’t know this, but your neck is anatomically the same as this giraffe’s neck. Really! You both have 7 vertebral bones in your neck. Yep, even though his neck is as long as you are tall, there are only 7 bones in there. In fact, with very few exceptions, all mammals have 7 bones in their neck. I guess it’s just a really good design!
Each vertebrae in your neck has joints in the back to connect it to the bones above and below, and all except the upper vertebrae have discs between them to provide cushioning and support. Your spinal cord (which transmits nerve signals to and from every part of your body) runs down the length of your entire spine in a canal formed by holes in each bone. At every segment, some nerves branch off from the spinal cord and supply local and distant body parts. For example, some of the nerves exiting your upper neck branch up into your face and head, while some nerves coming out of the lower part of your neck travel down into your arms and hands.
From a chiropractor’s perspective, the relationship between the bones and the discs and the nerves are so important, because when things aren’t working right, joint capsules and discs can press on sensitive nerves and give you all kinds of problems. Because the nerves carry two-way traffic, changes to the neck that relieve interference on the nerves can affect both pain (nerve signals going to the brain) and function (signals from the brain going to the structure). It makes sense that you would want to remove any interference from the nerves so that your brain and body can communicate properly. This will decrease your pain and improve your health. Chiropractic adjustments are intended to do just that – remove interference in the nerve pathways.
So although I have adjusted thousands of necks, they’ve all been the human variety. My hands aren’t big enough to work on a giraffe!