The spine is made up of stacked bones (vertebrae) and cushions of soft tissue (discs). When seen from the side they form the 3 natural curves of the spine. The cervical curve is the neck area. The thoracic curve is at the chest level and the lumbar curve is the lower back. The sacrum and coccyx are 2 fused bones at the bottom of the spine.
Viewed from back to front, the spinal column should be in a straight line. When properly aligned, it keeps the body balanced and comfortable.
The vertebrae are the bones which, along with the sacrum and coccyx, form the spinal column and create the spinal canal. This bony tunnel protects the spinal cord.
Discs are the shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Each has a jelly-like center, the nucleus, surrounded by a tough covering, the annulus. The discs provide flexibility by changing shape as you bend backwards (extension), forwards (flexion) and sideways.
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