About the spine
The 5 sections of the spine
The cervical spine makes up the neck and has 7 vertebrae.
The thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae which the ribs attach to.
The lumbar spine has 5 vertebrae which make the lower back.
The sacrum consists of 5 bones which are fused or stuck together, plus the coccyx which is made up of 4 tiny bones and used to be a tail.
Each vertebra is separated by intervertebral discs which are flexible cartilage discs. These allow movement in the spine and have a shock absorbing or cushioning function as well.
The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae and has 5 sections as illustrated.
Each disc is made up of two parts, a tougher fibrous outside and a central substance called nucleus pulposus. When a disc is damaged (or prolapsed) it is the squidgy liquid in the middle which often squeezes out, putting pressure on the spinal cord and causing pain.