Skip to Content
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 three curves. These curves allow
the spine to absorb shock as you move.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)