Your spine is one of the most important structures in your body. In fact, your spin helps to support the weight of your body, provides stability and balance, and enables you to move and bend freely. Unfortunately, your spine may begin to break down over time and increase the risk of injury or painful conditions. While your New York orthopedic surgeon can help diagnose spinal complications, it is important to brush up on the basic anatomy of your spine before setting up a consultation.
Your spine is broken down into three major sections. These sections include the cervical spine located in the neck, the thoracic spine through the midsection, and the lumbar spine in the lower back. Each of these sections plays a critical role in the overall health of your spine.
Each section of your spine contains a certain amount of bones known as vertebrae. The cervical spine, for example, contains seven vertebral bones while the thoracic spine contains twelve. The lumbar spine contains five vertebral bones located just above the sacrum, or upper portion of the pelvis. There are also several parts of each vertebral bone itself including the primary weight-bearing area, the lamina (which covers the spinal canal), and the hole in the center of the bone that allows the spinal nerves to exit.
The vertebrae in your spine are separated by soft, fluid-filled discs that work as shock absorbers and cushion your spine. The hard outer portion of these intervertebral discs is known as the annulus. The softer, inner portion is the nucleus.
Joints and Nerves
There are approximately eight cervical nerves, twelve thoracic nerves, five lumbar nerves, five sacral nerves, and one coccygeal nerve within your spine. Additionally, there are a number of fibrous bands of tissue called facet joints located in your spine which connect and maintain the alignment of your vertebrae.
Chronic back and neck pain may be caused by a problem affecting any one of the above spinal structures. Get the care you need by contacting Drew A. Stein, MD at (212) 398-2300. We also provide sports medicine services and treatment for ACL tears and knee injuries.