All Spinal Anatomy Articles

The Spine’s Self-Defense System

The spinal cord’s critical role means it needs to be defended and protected. Here’s how your body makes sure the spinal cord stays safe, and what can breach these defenses.

Lumbar Spine

Basic overview article on the lumbar spine (the low back). Learn lumbar spine anatomy so that you can better understand your low back pain.

The Sacrum and Coccyx

The sacrum and coccyx are part of the vertebral spinal column; the anatomy of the sacral spine and tailbone is explained.

Thoracic Spine

The thoracic spinal column includes 12 vertebrae located between the neck and lower back. Midback anatomy explained with illustrations.

Cervical Spine Anatomy (Neck)

Detailed description of cervical spine anatomy: includes image of cervical vertebra and list of parts of the body controlled by the cervical spinal nerves.

Spinal Anatomy Center

The spinal column or vertebral column holds your upright, allows movement and provides a conduit for nerves running between the brain and body.

Nerve Structures of the Spine

Learn more about your spinal nerves and your body's nervous systems. Article explains spinal nerve and spinal cord basics and includes illustrations of spinal anatomy.

Sacroiliac Joint is Different from Other Joints

The sacroiliac joints distribute the shock of motion across the pelvis, thereby reducing strain on the spine as you walk. The SI joints help stabilize the body, enabling you to maintain an upright position while walking or running.

Muscles Move and Support the Spine

Patient-friendly article about the voluntary muscles that move and support the spine. Lack of muscle strength and flexibility is a common reason for back pain.

Glossary of Spinal Terms

An "A to Z" dictionary of spine terms translated into patient-friendly language.

Intervertebral Discs

The intervertebral discs are fibrocartilaginous cushions serving as the spine's shock absorbing system, which protect the vertebrae, brain, and other structures.

Vertebral Column

Get an expert-written spinal anatomy lesson on the vertebral column (your spine) by reading this article.


Read this article to get a basic anatomy lesson about ligaments, which are fibrous bands or sheets of connective tissue linking 2 or more structures together.

Lumbar Spine, Sacrum, and Coccyx

Find out how the lumbar spine is made for walking, running, sitting, and lifting. Furthermore, gain a better understanding of lordosis and why sitting may increase coccyx pain.

Facet Joints of the Spine's Anatomy

A joint is where 2 or more bones are joined. Joints allow motion (articulation). The joints in the spine are commonly called facet joints, and you can learn about the anatomy of spinal joints in this article.

Spinal Cord, Nerves, and the Brain

The spinal cord, nerves, and brain make up the body's communication center. These complex structures and how they work together are explained in this easy-to-understand article.

Structural Components of the Spine

To understand what causes back pain, here is a short anatomy lesson. This overview will help you understand your spine specialist's treatment recommendations.

Spinal Muscles: A Comprehensive Guide

Muscles are named according to their shape, location, or a combination. They are further categorized according function such as flexion, extension, or rotation.

Anatomical Planes of the Body

Medical professionals often refer to sections of the body in terms of anatomical planes (flat surfaces). These planes are imaginary lines ? vertical or horizontal ? drawn through an upright body.

Spinal Structure and Body Mechanics

The spine is a complex structure that is prone to normal degenerative processes that can affect the spine's structural integrity.

Use Good Body Mechanics to Help Keep Your Spine Safe

Correct body mechanics, can help minimize the risk of injury to your spine.

Spine's Facet and Sacroiliac Joints

The spine's joints are similar to other joints in the body. Cartilage, ligaments, synovial fluid, and joint capsules make up the facet joints. Learn about the Sacroiliac (SI) Joints here too.

Sacroiliac Joint

The sacroiliac joint is one of the most important joints in the body, yet many people know nothing about it. The sacroiliac joint connects the spine to the pelvis. Without it, you wouldn't be able to stand or walk.

Your Healthy Spine

Overview of spinal anatomy explains and illustrates key structures of the spine, such as the discs, joints and nerve roots that may cause neck and back pain.

Spinal Cord - Ligaments - Muscles - Blood Supply

Learn about the spinal cord, nerve roots, cord membranes, ligaments and other spinal structures.

Spinal Curves

Spinal curves are either kyphotic or lordotic. In a normal spine there are four types of spinal curvatures important to balance, flexibility, and stress absorption and distribution.

Bone Basics and Your Spine

The bones of the spine, called vertebrae, are like cylindrical building blocks. They stack on top of each other like small cans separated by little cushions called discs. Learn more about the spinal column.

Spinal Discs Connect and Protect Vertebrae

The spine's discs sit between each vertebra. They are tough on the outside with a softer, gel-like fluid inside. Each time you move the spine, the discs change shape in relation to the movement.

Spinal Blood Supply

The function of the vascular system is to nourish each cell in the body.

Spinal Column: An Integral Part of the Human Body

Taken from Chapter 2 of the book "Save Your Aching Back and Neck, A Patient's Guide" explains the significance of the human spine.

The Spinal Muscles

Usually working in groups, muscles contract and relax in response to nerve impulses that originate in the brain.

The Normal Spinal Column

Many of the elements of the spinal column are detailed in this illustration.

Cervical and Thoracic Spine

Your neck, the cervical spine, is the most mobile section of the spine. While the thoracic spine is less movable, learn why poor posture may affect its shape and your appearance. See how these regions of the spine are similiar and different.

Ligaments Stabilize and Move the Spine

Ligaments are strong, fibrous bands that have some but not much elasticity. Whether long or short, ligaments help secure the spinal column from the front and back. The spine's ligaments are shown in an easy-to-understand anatomical illustration.

Intervertebral Disc Explanation | Video

Video: A spine surgeon explains what the intervertebral disc is in this short segment. Helpful if you want to understand what's causing your disc-related back pain.

Normal Curves of Your Spine

The spine curves gently at the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. The curves serve as springs in a coil to distribute mechanical stress as the body moves.


Your spine naturally has 2 lordotic curves. Learn about lordosis and what happens when your spine curves too much in this article from a spine surgeon.

Many Ligaments and Muscles Attach to the Spine

This illustration shows how the ligaments and muscles help support the spine and prevent excessive movement that could lead to injury.

Lateral and Posterior Views of the Spine

An illustration of the spine showing the posterior (rear) and lateral (sagittal) views.

Spinal Ligaments and Tendons

Ligaments and tendons are fibrous connective tissues made up of densely packed collagen fibers. Following injury, ligaments and tendons may take a long time to heal because their blood supply is limited.

Facet Joints

Like other joints in the body, the spinal facet joints are articulating structures. The joint surfaces are coated with smooth cartilage to facilitate movement.

Spinal Muscles

The spinal muscles, along with the supporting system of ligaments, control the spine's ability to maintain balance and stability when a person stands or moves.

Bone Basics

Bones serve as storehouses for minerals and fats. Approximately a quarter of a bone's weight is fluid. Minerals make up the remaining weight along with other nutrients.

Ligaments Support the Spine

A normal spine is supported by various ligaments which are illustrated here.

Neural Elements of the Spine

An illustration of neural elements of a normal spine.

Cauda Equina

An illustration of the cauda equina or horse's tail

Vertebrae Provide Support for the Spine

An illustration of the spine with a spinal segment enlarged to highlight the location of the vertebrae, discs, pedicles, and facet joints.

Basic Bone Structure

Bones are organs composed of hard living tissue providing structural support to the body ? it?s scaffolding. It is a hard matrix of calcium salts deposited around protein fibers.