The spine (backbone) is composed of 33 interlocking bones called
vertebrae that are separated by soft, compressible discs and supported by many
different ligaments and muscles. It is divided into five segments: cervical
(neck), thoracic (upper and middle back), lumbar (lower back), sacrum (pelvis),
and coccyx (tailbone). In each segment, the vertebrae are numbered from top to
bottom. For example, a C3 is the third vertebra in the neck area, while a T6 is
the sixth vertebra in the thoracic area.
The vertebrae in the spine normally form 3 curves. These curves allow
the spine to absorb shock as you move.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
February 3, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 03, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this