Last reviewed 01/2018

The spine is the bony column extending as the central axis of the body from skull to small of back. It is composed of bone, ligament, cartilage, muscle and nerves e.g. the spinal cord.

Its functions include:

  • protection of spinal cord
  • articulation with head, hip girdle and ribs
  • support for trunk, limbs and head
  • maintenance of posture
  • flexible axis for locomotion

There are 33 bones - vertebrae - within the adult spine. Their angle of articulation determines the direction of curvature in regions of the spine.