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Anatomy of the Spine

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Updated April 16, 2014

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The Anatomy of the Spine
human spine diagram

The Human Spine

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Your true age lies not in years or how you THINK you feel but as you ACTUALLY are as infallibly indicated by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine throughout life. Joseph Pilates

With much of our quality of life dependent upon a healthy spine, it makes sense to take a few moments to get to know this all-important, truly core part of our body:

The Anatomy of the Spine - The Bones

The human spine is composed of 26 individual bony masses, 24 of those are bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other and form the main part of the spine running from the base of the skull to the pelvis. At the base of the spine, is a bony plate called the sacrum which is made of 5 fused vertebrae. The sacrum forms the back part of the pelvis. At the bottom of the sacrum is a small set of 4 partly fused vertebrae, the coccyx or tailbone. Adding the fused and partly fused bones of the sacrum and coccyx to the 24 vertebrae, the spine has 33 bones all together.

The spine is labeled in 3 sections: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine. Starting from the top there are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae.

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