Spine Anatomy

The spine, also called the back bone is designed to give us stability, smooth movement, as well as providing a corridor of protection for the delicate spinal cord.

It is made up of bony segments called vertebrae and fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs. The vertebrae and discs form a column from the head to pelvis providing symmetry to the body.

The spine can be divided into four parts. The uppermost is the cervical region, consisting of seven small vertebrae that form the neck. The next 12 vertebrae make up the thoracic region or mid back from which the ribs are hinged. The five lumbar vertebrae are the largest and support 2/3 of the body’s weight. The lowest region of the spine is the sacrum and coccyx. The sacrum is a triangular plate made up of five fused vertebral segments while the four coccyxes terminate the body spine.


A vertebra is made up of two parts, the front portion is called the body, cylindrical in shape, and it is strong and stable. The back portion of the vertebra is referred to as the vertebral or neural arch and is made up of many parts.


The laminae of the vertebra can be described as a pair of flat arched bones that form a component of the vertebral arch.

Spinal canal

This canal is formed by the placement of single vertebral foramina one on the top of the other to form a canal. The purpose of the canal is to create a bony casing from the head to the lower back through which the spinal cord passes.

Pars inter articularis

Known as the Pars, it is the part of the vertebral arch where the pedicle, transverse process and articular process transect.

Intervertebral Disc

The intervertebral disc sits between the weight bearing vertebral bodies, servicing the spine as shock absorbers.