Info on Spinal Anatomy

Info on Spinal Anatomy

The spine is broken down into five regions (starting from the top) which are: cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), lumbar (low back), sacral (between the hips), and coccygeal (tail bone). Since more than 90% of all spinal pain comes from the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar spine region, the information provided here will provide generalities about the anatomy of these segments.

The anatomy of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine vary, but in general, each segment is made up of the following structures: muscle, ligaments, joints, intervertebral discs, bone and nerve tissue. The muscles and ligaments hold the spine together, the joints allow the spine to move, the discs act as “shock absorbers,” and the bone protects the important nerve structures. 

Pain comes from damaged tissues that have nerve endings. The spine tissues that have nerve endings are muscle, the posterior longitudinal ligament, nerve roots, joint capsules (facet joints), and the outer surface of the discs.