What bones make up the spine?

Dr. Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine Specialist
Your back is composed of twenty-four individual bones called vertebrae that are stacked one on top of the other to make up your backbone or spinal column. The entire column sits on the sacrum, a large triangular bone that connects the spine to the hips. The top seven vertebrae in the neck are called the cervical spine. The next twelve segments make up the mid back or thoracic spine, and the bottom five bones in the lower back are called the lumbar spine. Each bone is unique in its size and shape, but they all have several things in common.
Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

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Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

Many of us complain about our 'bad back,' but this book argues that our backs are, without exception, amazing examples of bioengineering, capable of dramatic feats of strength, flexibility, and...

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. The things between the vertebrae are called joints, and they act like hinges that let the spine bend and twist. Note that the bottom nine vertebrae are stuck together to make the sacrum and coccyx, which support the spine. The iliac bones support the sacrum through the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are very strong, as they support most of the body’s weight. 

Dr. Thomas J. Dowling, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

There are several sections of the spine. The cervical or neck section contains 7 bones or vertebrae with the top two having special names: the atlas or C1 which supports the head and the axis or C2 ( both are responsible for a significant amour of head motion) with rest named in order -- C3, C4, C5, C6, and C7. The next section is known as the thoracic or chest region and has 12 vertebrae -- T1 to T12 with 2 ribs attached to each level which minimizes motion in this region. The lumbar or low back area has 5 vertebrae -- L1 to L5. Then there is the sacrum which is shaped like a triangle and is “planted" into the pelvis or hip region anchoring the spine to our lower body. In engineering terms, it acts like a keystone in an arch providing support to our pelvis. After the sacrum, one can find the coccyx which is referred to as a tailbone. Both the sacrum and coccyx are made up of several bones with the sacrum ones being fused or joined together.

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