Vertebral column

The vertebral column (also known as the spinal column) is composed of 33 vertebrae. Some are fused together, making 26 bones. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs of fibro-cartilage, which act as shock absorbers. The bones and discs are bound together by strong ligaments.

Body systems and the physiological and psychological effects of massage The column is divided into five regions:

| cervical 7 vertebrae (neck), concave when viewed posteriorly

J thoracic 12 vertebrae (upper back), convex when viewed posteriorly

| lumbar 5 vertebrae (lower, small of back), concave when viewed posteriorly

J sacral 5 fused vertebrae (sacrum), convex when viewed posteriorly

5 I coccygeal 4 fused vertebrae (coccyx).

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