Spine Anatomy

Spinal (Vertbral) Column

The vertebral or spinal column, also known as the backbone or spine, is part of the axial skeleton.

There are normally 33 bones or vertebrae; the upper 24 are articulating and separated from each other by intervertebral discs, and the lower nine are fused in adults, 5 in the sacrum and 4 in the coccyx, or tailbone. The articulating vertebrae are named according to their region of the spine. There are seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae and five lumbar vertebrae.

There are ligaments extending the length of the column at the front and the back, and in between the vertebrae joining the spinous processes, the transverse processes and the vertebral laminae. These ligaments and the intervertebral discs hold the spine together.

The vertebral column houses the spinal canal, a cavity that encloses and protects the spinal cord.


Vertebral Column

The upper cervical spine and the lumbar spine have convex forward curves, known as a lordotic curves. The thoracic and sacral curves, concaving inwards, are known as kyphotic curves.


Vertebral Segment

A vertebral segment represents a single complete vertebral bone with its associated articular processes and laminae.

Spinal Cord & Spinal Nerves

Our nervous system regulates and controls bodily functions and activity. It has two parts:

  • Central System; which consists of Brain & Spinal Cord
  • Peripheral System; which includes the Nerves

Nerves carry micro-electrical signals back and forth connecting brain to internal organs, joints, bones, tendons, muscles, skin and other tissues via spinal cord as the connecting cable.

The nervous system is well organized. Brain works as a computer or a central processor, spinal cord as the main cable carrying origins or ends of extensions, the nerves. It is no wonder that both brain and spinal cord are protected well inside bony skull and spine respectively. 

Spinal cord is safely housed inside a bony tunnel called spinal canal. It extend from the base of skull, hanging inside the spinal canal. It starts sending out branches that exits out between the the adjacent bones. This exit opening on the side of spine through which these bigger nerves comes out is called a “foramina”. 

You can learn more about your spine and possible reasons for back pain on our partner website Spine-Health by clicking the link below:

Spine Anatomy

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