The cervical, or neck section of your spine, consists of seven vertebrae known as C1 to C7. The top cervical vertebra is connected to the base of your skull.
The thoracic section of your spine is located at the chest level, between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae. The 12 thoracic vertebrae, known as T1 to T12, also serve as points of attachment for your rib cage.
The lumbar section of your spine is located between the thoracic vertebrae and the sacrum. The five lumbar vertebrae, known as L1 to L5, are the main weight-bearing bones of your spinal column.
The sacrum section of your spine is located near its base. The sacrum consists of five fused vertebrae known as S1 to S5. The sacrum does not have discs separating the bones since they are fused together. The pelvis is connected to the spinal column at the sacrum.
The coccyx, also called the tailbone, is at the base of your spinal column. It has four small vertebrae that are fused together, like the sacrum.
Root nerves extend from your spinal cord to all the other parts of your body. They transmit information to and from your arms, legs and organs. They exit the spinal canal through holes in your vertebrae called foramen.
The cylinder-shaped vertebral body is the weight-bearing structure of the vertebra. It is shaped somewhat like an hourglass, with thicker ends at the top and bottom.
The flat plates of the lamina create the outer wall of the vertebral canal and help protect the spinal cord.
Pedicles are short rounded bones on either side of a vertebra that connect the lamina or posterior wall of the spine to the vertebra body.
The spinous process protrudes from the back of each vertebra. Muscles and ligaments that move and stabilize the vertebrae attach to the spinous processes.
Two transverse processes or bone “spokes” stick out of the sides of each vertebra. The muscles and ligaments that move and stabilize the vertebrae attach to the transverse processes.
The articular facets are thin plates of bone that extend up and down from the vertebrae. These bones are the places where two neighboring vertebrae attach.
Your spinal cord contains the nerve pathways that carry signals, such as pain, from your arms, legs and body to your brain.
The spinal cord sits in this channel formed by the lamina and the vertebral body.
Discs separate your vertebrae. They are made of tough, elastic material that allows the spine to bend and twist naturally. Discs are the shock absorbers of your spine.