Your spine is a stacked column of 24 small bones called vertebrae that are arranged in segments. Between each vertebra is a disk, a cushion of soft gel material. Disks absorb pressure and keep the bony vertebrae from rubbing against each other.
Ligaments hold spinal vertebrae in place with ligaments. Ligaments connect bones with other bones, and muscles to bones.
Like the other bones in your body, the vertebrae have joints so that the spine can move with flexibility. These are named facet joints. Arthritis in facets can cause pain.
Every vertebra in your spine has an opening in its center. The stacked vertebrae together produce a hollow tube down the spine, holding and protecting the spinal cord.
Nerve roots run from your spinal cord to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is your communication center, sending signals between your brain and the rest of your body. Without a well-functioning spine and nervous system, your body may suffer paralysis.
Spinal back surgery is very common. Before taking that final step, consider other treatments and exercises to strengthen your spine and its muscles.
Humans depend on the neck remaining in good condition. When a strong force injures your neck, or if you develop inflammation or degeneration, you will experience pain and perhaps disability.
Younger people usually incur damage caused by an injury. Sports injuries, vehicle accidents, and other blunt-force trauma can cause permanent harm and disability.
Older persons usually have more cases of degenerative disk disability. A lifetime of wear and tear can cause sometimes excruciating, long-term problems. Other common diseases of the neck can produce pain and disability.
Your Back & Spine
The Anatomy of the Spine
The Segments of the Spine
The cervical spine is the first segment of seven vertebrae at the top. It holds your head and neck.
The thoracic spine is the second segment, located in the middle portion of your body. It consists of 12 vertebrae that control the mid-back region.