Anatomy of the Spine
The regions of the spine all serve one main function: protecting the spinal cord. The spinal cord provides a communication pathway between our brain and sensations felt throughout the body in the bones, ligaments and nerves. When the spinal cord is damaged, neurological functioning is impaired. This can result in mild pain or in more severe case, debilitating conditions requiring therapy or surgery to repair. The various parts of the spine all serve a unique purpose. When these functions are combined, the spine allows us to walk, talk, sit and more.
The spine has three main parts: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine and the lumbar spine.
The upper part of the spine is considered the cervical spine. This area is made-up of the top seven vertebrae towards the head and neck, which support neck function and mobility. This part of the spine is also responsible for protecting the spinal cord and arteries. The seven cervical vertebrae are numbered C1 to C7.
The upper middle back is known as the thoracic spine. This part of the spine has twelve vertebrae. The main function of the thoracic spine is to protect the heart and lungs, as well as providing support for the rib cage. The twelve vertebrae are labeled T1 to T12.
The lumbar spine is the area most commonly known as the lower back. The main function of this region is to provide support for our body mass, allowing us to carry heavy objects and support our body weight. The lumbar spine is made-up of five vertebrae, labeled L1 to L5.