Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
I hope you have enjoyed our blog posts on various health, nutritional and injury related topics. Please don't hesitate in calling us or myself if you have questions when the need to seek care arises. Call the office or myself. Office 915-850-0900 - Cell 915-540-8444 Great Regards. Dr. J

The Spinal/Vertebral Column

The spinal/vertebral column extends from the skull to the pelvis and consists of individual bones known as vertebrae. It is what holds the body upright, allows the body to bend, twist, and is the conduit for major nerves running from the brain to the rest of the body. The vertebrae are grouped into four regions. They are the:
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column
Spinal Terminology Number of Vertebrae Area of Body Abbreviation
Cervical 7 Neck C1-C7
Thoracic 12 Chest T1-T12
Lumbar 5-6 Low back L1-L5
Sacrum 5 fused vertebrae Pelvis S1-S5
Coccyx 3 Tailbone None

Cervical Vertebrae

The cervical spine breaks down into two parts. The upper cervical C1 and C2, and the lower cervical C3 through C7. The C1 vertebrae are known as the Atlas and the C2 the Axis. The Occipital Bone is a flat bone that forms the back of the head.


The Atlas is the first cervical vertebra and is abbreviated as C1. This vertebra supports the skull. It appears different from the other spinal vertebrae, as it resembles a ring and is made up of two masses joined at the front and back by the anterior and posterior arches.  


The Axis is the second cervical vertebra and is abbreviated C2. It is a tooth-like process that projects upward. It is referred to as the odontoid process or dens, which is Latin for tooth. It provides a kind of pivot and collar that allows the head along with the atlas to rotate.

Thoracic Vertebrae

The thoracic vertebrae become larger from T1 through T12. What makes the thoracic spine unique is that it is the only vertebrae that support the ribs and is made up of pedicles, spinous processes, and large neural passageways that help reduce nerve compression. Unfortunately, not everyone has a large intervertebral foramen, which can cause compression.  
  1. Vertebral Body
  2. Spinous Process
  3. Transverse Facet
  4. Pedicle
  5. Foramen
  6. Lamina
  7. Superior Facet
The thoracic vertebrae are attached to the ribs. However, at T11 and T12, the ribs are not attached and are called floating ribs. The region of the spine’s range of motion is limited because of the rib/vertebrae attachments and the long spinous processes.  

Lumbar Vertebrae

The lumbar vertebrae increase in size from L1 through L5. These are the vertebrae that take the body’s weight along with any loading force that can create biomechanical stress. The pedicles are longer and wider than the thoracic spine pedicles, and the spinous processes are horizontal and more square. The neural passageway is large but nerve root compression is very common due to disc herniation from poor posture, prolonged sitting, improper lifting, etc.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column

Vertebrae’s Purpose

The vertebrae range in size with the cervical region being the smallest. The lumbar low back region is the largest. The vertebral bodies of the spinal column are what bear the weight. The body’s upper weight is dispersed through the spine to the sacrum and pelvis. Thee natural curves in the spine provide resistance, flexibility by distributing the body’s weight, and axial loads/forces sustained when in motion. Vertebrae are made up of many elements critical to the overall function of the spine. This includes the intervertebral discs and facet joints. Functions of the spinal/vertebral column include:  
Protection Spinal Cord Internal Organs
Attachment Ligaments Muscles Tendons
Support Structure Head Shoulders Chest Connect Upper and Lower body Balance
Mobility and Flexibility Extension – bending backward Flexion – bending forward Side bending Rotation Combination
Other The bones produce red blood cells Stores minerals


The sacrum is located behind the pelvis. It consists of five bones that are abbreviated S1 through S5. They are fused together in a triangular shape. The sacrum fits between the hipbones and connects the spine to the pelvis. The last vertebra L5 moves with the sacrum. Right below are five more bones that are also fused together and they form the Coccyx or tailbone.

Intervertebral Discs

The intervertebral discs make up a quarter of the spinal/vertebral column’s length. There are no discs between the Atlas, Axis, and Coccyx. Discs are not connected to the body’s vascular system and so depend on the endplates to disperse essential minerals and nutrients. The cartilaginous layers keep the discs in place. They are fibrocartilaginous cushions that function as the spine/body’s shock absorbers. They protect the vertebrae, brain, nerves, etc. There is some vertebral motion that the discs allow but individual disc movement is limited. Significant motion is possible when the discs work together.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column

Annulus Fibrosus and Nucleus Pulposus

Intervertebral discs are made up of an annulus fibrosus and a nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus is a strong radial structure made up of lamellae. Concentric sheets of collagen fibers connect to the endplates. These sheets are positioned at various angles. The annulus fibrosus encapsulates the nucleus pulposus.  
Both are made up of water, collagen, and proteoglycans. However, the larger amount of water and proteoglycans are in the nucleus pulposus. Proteoglycan molecules are essential because they attract and retain water. The nucleus pulposus consists of a hydrated gel-like substance that resists compression. The amount of water in the nucleus changes throughout the day. This depends on the activity or non-activity. All in all proper care and maintenance of the spinal/vertebral column is vital to general health and overall well-being.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*

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Our Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive, cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, practical strength training, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries.

We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Rehabilitation Systems for all ages.

As an extension to effective rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities premier doctors, therapist and trainers to provide high-level competitive athletes the possibilities to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities.

We’ve been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last three decades allowing us to restore our patients’ health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs.

Our programs are natural and use the body’s ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living.

With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age or disability.

Join us in improving your health for you and your family.

It’s all about: LIVING, LOVING & MATTERING! 🍎

Welcome & God Bless


6440 Gateway East, Ste B
Phone: 915-850-0900

East Side:
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste 128
Phone: 915-412-6677

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Address: 11860 Vista Del Sol Dr Suite 128
El Paso, TX 79936
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El Paso, TX 79905
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