Nov 1, 2017
Virtually everyone will experience some form of back pain at some point in their life. It is important to have an understanding of basic anatomy to promote a healthy spine. The human spine is comprised of 33 individual bones stacked on top of each other and each bone in the spine is called a vertebra. There are 5 main areas of the spine.
Cervical– The neck area of the spine that attaches directly to the skull. Vertebrae are numbered based on each area of the spine. Cervical vertebrae are C1 to C7. The first two vertebrae in the cervical area (C1 and C2) are specialized, allowing for the flexibility of the neck.
Thoracic– The upper back area of the spine is comprised of 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12). The primary purpose of the thoracic area of the spine is to hold the rib cage in place. As a result of this attachment, flexibility in the thoracic area is limited.
Lumbar– The lower back area of the spine is comprised of 5 vertebrae (L1 to L5). Each individual vertebrae in the lumbar area of the spine are larger to support the weight and stress of the body.
Sacrum– The bottom of the spine is also comprised of 5 vertebrae (S1 to S5). The primary purpose of the sacrum is to connect the spine to the hip bones.
Coccyx- The end of the spine is comprised of 4 fused bones. The coccyx, also known as the tailbone, attaches to ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor.