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The Anatomy of Your Spine: What You Need to Know

Your spine, or backbone, carries you throughout the day. It protects your spinal cord, the system of nerves that serves as a connection between your brain and your entire body. The interworking of your spine and spinal cord allow your body to physically move and internally function in miraculous ways. In order to truly understand how well your spine can work for you, learn the basic anatomy behind your spinal system.

The spinal system is made up of more than only bones. It consists of nerves and muscles that work together to communicate to all areas of the body. First and foremost, the spine is divided into five parts: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine, the sacrum and the coccyx. All five parts consist of individual bones called vertebrae. These are separated by interverbal discs, which cushion each vertebra between the bones. When combined, the spine is comprised of a total of 33 interlocking vertebrae.

Cervical spine: 7 vertebrae (C1 – C7)

Thoracic spine: 12 vertebrae (D1 – D12)

Lumbar spine: 5 vertebrae (L1 – L5)

Sacrum: 5 fused vertebrae (S1 – S5)

Coccyx: 4 frequently fused vertebrae

Cervical Spine, Thoracic Spine and Lumbar Spine

The cervical spine, the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine are known together as the spinal curve. These three parts consist of 24 vertebrae and form the S-shape of your back. The first seven vertebrae within the cervical spine control the neck and support the weight of your head. The cervical spine has the widest range of motion compared to other areas of the spinal system. The thoracic spine is centrally located in the system to hold the rib cage, protect the lungs and protect the heart. Motion throughout the thoracic spine is limited. The lumbar spine, or lower back, is made up of larger vertebrae to bear the weight of the body.

Sacrum and Coccyx

The sacrum and the coccyx make up the lowest part of your spine, or the pelvic cavity. The sacrum connects the spine to the hips with five vertebrae that are fused together. Finally, the coccyx is the vestigial tail of the spine, commonly known as the tailbone.

To learn more about the interworking of your spine and its functions, call Spine Solutions at (954) 329-1769. We can provide the knowledge you need to understand your spine and to make sure it’s as healthy as possible.

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