Our existence is rooted in the body. We know we are here because we have input from our senses that go directly to our brain and orient us to ourselves, to our surroundings, and to other people. Without these inputs we would be unable to function. Something we do every day, like walking, would become impossible. We wouldn’t feel our foot touch the ground as we take a step. We wouldn’t know to bend our knee and shift weight to the other foot while in stride. And we would promptly fall to the ground.
We obviously take all of this for granted, the continuous loop of information going back and forth between our senses and our brain. And for a good reason. Our attention needs to be elsewhere.
The spine is the body’s midline. It runs from the base of the skull through all 24 vertebrae to the sacrum, ending at the coccyx. It connects the top, middle, and bottom of the body and is the body’s structural and functional center. All movement is accomplished by balancing the tension between external forces and internal architecture, with the spine as the pivot around which these forces are negotiated and redistributed. Sensory input comes in from the periphery through the dorsal root ganglion (from the back of the body) into the spine and up at lightning speed to brain centers for processing. Motor output, in response to interpreted sensory input, leaves the brain, travels down the spine and branches off from the ventral root (from the front of the body) toward the periphery at the level needed to initiate action for change in muscles, organs, and tissues.