Spine Basics

The spine is a column of 33 bones called vertebrae with fibrous cushioning layers—known as discs—located between them.  Ligaments are flexible tissues that keep the vertebrae in alignment. Tendons connect the vertebrae to bones and muscles.

The spine is the center of our posture and stability when upright. It also encloses and protects the spinal cord, which is made up of long nerve fibers leading from the base of the brain. The spinal cord is the major path of communication between the brain and other bodily structures, relying on peripheral nerves that branch off from the spinal cord, passing through small openings in the vertebrae, to communicate the signals that give purposeful motion to the muscles and skeleton. A structure both tough and resilient, yet extraordinarily delicate, the spinal column consists of:

  • 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae
  • 12 thoracic (chest) vertebrae
  • 5 lumbar (back) vertebrae
  • 5 fused vertebrae that make up the sacrum and 4 coccygeal bones, the “tailbone” at the bottom of the spinal column

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 631-444-SPINE (7746).

Last updated by Webmaster on November 06, 2009

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