Spinal Anatomy

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Spine_Institute_of_ConnecticutThe Spine Institute of Connecticut at Saint Francis
114 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105
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An Inside Look At he Human Spine

The spinal column is made up of 33 vertebrae that are separated by spongy disks and classified into distinct areas:

  • The cervical area consists of seven vertebrae in the neck.
  • The thoracic area consists of 12 vertebrae in the chest.
  • The lumbar area consists of five vertebrae in the lower back.
  • The sacrum has five small, fused vertebrae.
  • The four coccygeal vertebrae fuse to form one bone, called the coccyx or tailbone.

The spinal cord, a major part of the central nervous system, is located in the vertebral canal and reaches from the base of the skull to the upper part of the lower back. The spinal cord is surrounded by the bones of the spine and a sac containing cerebrospinal fluid. The spinal cord carries sense and movement signals to and from the brain and controls many reflexes.