Anatomy of the spine


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The human spine is a complex structure made up of vertebrae, discs, the spinal cord, and nerves.

Vertebrae are bones stacked one upon the other to protect the spinal cord and the nerves which carry electrical signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

The 24 vertebrae of the spine are divided into three sections:

The cervical spine, which is the neck area (top image)

The thoracic spine, which is the mid-back (middle image)

The lumbar spine, which is the lower back (bottom image)

Each vertebrae is made up of the vertebral body in the front, the facet joints in the back and the pedicles, which connect the vertebral body to the facet joints.

Intervertebrael discs are soft, rubbery pads found between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column.

In the middle of the spinal column is the spinal canal—a hollow space that contains the spinal cord and other nerve roots. The disks between the vertebrae allow the back to flex or bend. Disks also act as shock absorbers.

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