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Anatomy of the spine

Anatomy of the Spine

Your spine is the main support system for your body. It allows you to walk, stand, sit, lie down, bend, and twist. The spine absorbs shock and provides for range of motion. A spine has 33 bones and many nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The 33 bones in your spine are the vertebrae. They are interconnected.

The three main parts of the spine are:

• The cervical spine: This part is the neck. There are 7 cervical vertebrae identified as C1-C7.

• The thoracic spine. This is the upper back. These 12 vertebrae are identified as T1-T12

• The lumbar spine. This is the lower back. The 5 vertebrae are called L1-L5

The 5 sacrum vertebrae connects the spine to the hip bones.There are also four coccyx bones.

A normal spine has an S shape to it.

Each vertebrae:

• Has a body, an arch, and processes for the muscles

• Is separated from the adjacent vertebrae by an intervertebral disc which ideally prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. The discs have an inner center gel called the nucleus and an outer ring called the annulus.

• Has four facet joints (one pair that connects to a vertebrae above and another pair which connects to a vertebrae below).

The ligaments hold the spine together and protect the discs.

The brain and the spinal cord together make up the central nervous system.

The spinal nerves send messages back and forth between the spinal cord and the brain.The two primary muscle groups in the spine are flexors and extensors.

For help with chronic pain or acute pain, please call our Langhorne, Pennsylvania office at 215.741.7031. We help patients throughout Bucks County and neighboring counties. We treat patients from Newtown, Langhorne, Levittown, Doylestown, Trenton, and other nearby locations. Our office is near the Oxford Valley Mall.


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