Spine: Back, Neck & Pediatric Spine
The spine is a complex structure that plays an important role in our activities of daily life.
These include holding up the head and upper body, supporting the body to stand straight, and providing flexibility for bending and twisting.
The spine consists of a total of 33 small bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are aligned one on top of another, from the skull down to the pelvis.
The spine is divided into three main sections of vertebrae and related structures:
- cervical — with seven small vertebrae that go from the skull to the upper chest.
- thoracic – with 12 vertebrae from the upper chest to the middle back, connecting to the rib cage.
- lumbar – with five large vertebrae in the low back to help support more of your body’s weight.
The back is supported by muscles and ligaments which provide stability and keep it in position; shock-absorbing intervertebral disks between the vertebrae; and facet joints on the backside of the vertebrae, which allow the spine to rotate. Learn more about the anatomy of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical parts of the back at Spine-health.com.
Our Spine Specialists
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More Information About Our Spine Services
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons patient information website