Your spine is made up of a column of 33 bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked one on top of another like Lego bricks.
There are 7 cervical vertebrae in your neck, which includes one which links to your skull, 12 thoracic vertebrae in your chest, 5 lumber vertebrae in your mid/low back and 5 sacral vertebrae at the bottom of your back and finally 4 bones in your coccyx, which is the tail end of your back.
All these joined together are able to give you the ability to curve and flex your spine.
Attached to your vertebrae are your muscles and ligaments. Ligaments are tough fibres which help to keep everything in place. Nerves appear from gaps between each pair of bones which then supply your muscles and then carry sensations to your brain.
Major muscle groups also support and help to stabilise your spine, providing your spine with the ability to flex, extend, twist and bend sideways.
The lumber nerves have a bundle of nerve fibres known as the sciatic nerve, which supplies the legs and feet.
In between the bones are the discs which stop the spine from jarring acting like a cushion to enable you to move. These disc make up about a quarter of the height of the spine. They come in two parts, a jelly which is the centre piece for your discs and supports the weight, and a series of concentric rings which keep the jelly in place.
Behind your discs nerves pass through and behind this is what is called a facet joint, which allows your bones to move on another. All the bones are joined together by ligaments.
The more you learn about how your back works, the more you will understand when it’s bothering you.
Source: Polyclinic, London Norwich Spine
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