The thoracic and lumbar spine provides the main support for your body, allowing you to stand upright, bend, and twist, while protecting the spinal cord from injury. A healthy spine provides strength, is flexible, and allows movement in several planes. Strong bones and muscles, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves contribute to a healthy spine. Yet, any of these structures affected by strain, injury, or disease can cause pain.

The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae that interlock and form the spinal column.  Here are the 5 regions of the spine:

  • Cervical: The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae (C1-C7).  The main function of the cervical spine is the support the weight of the head.
  • Thoracic: The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae (T1-T12).  The range of motion in the thoracic region is limited and its main function is to protect the organs of the best by providing attachment for the rib cage.
  • Lumbar: The lumbar spine is made up of 5 vertebrae (L1—L5).  These are the largest vertebrae in the spinal column and their main function is to bear the weight of the body.
  • Sacral:  The sacral spine is made up of 5 vertebrae which are fused together.  The main function of the sacral region is to provide attachment for the iliac (hip) bones and protect the pelvic organs. 
  • Coccyx:  The coccyx or tailbone is made up of 4 fused bones.  It resembles a tail and does not serve a real function in the spine.

Other structures of the spine include:

  • Intervertebral Discs
  • Spinal Canal
  • Facet Joints
  • Ligaments
  • Spinal Cord
  • Spinal Nerves

Visit our video library below to learn more about spine conditions, injuries, and procedures. 

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