Laser Spine Institute’s library of vertebrae articles

The spinal column is made up of over two dozen vertebrae, which provide the neck and back with stability and strength. Beginning in the cervical spine at the base of the skull and concluding at the coccyx in the tailbone, the individual segments of the spine vary in size and function. When working normally, discs cushion the spine while facet joints provide stability.

However, these moving parts also make the spine prone to deterioration, particularly in the cervical and lumbar spine segments, which can lead to nerve compression and many painful symptoms. To learn more about the structure of the spine and how it degenerates over time, read the information in the following article.

The spine’s structure

The S-shaped spine is divided into five segments — the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal spine segments. As the spinal vertebrae are responsible for supporting the skull, rib cage and most of the body’s weight, these bones bear a significant amount of stress at each segment. In addition to managing this weight burden, the vertebrae also must allow for the flexibility, pivoting ability and range of motion that we require in the neck and back.

Spinal degeneration

Over time, we are all susceptible to a degree of vertebral deterioration as a side effect of the natural aging process. Spinal discs tend to wear out, facet joints may break down and osteoarthritis becomes a stronger possibility. Spinal degeneration may also occur earlier in life as a result of traumatic injury or another disease, which means that most people may experience some degree of neck or back pain at some point in their lives.

Vertebrae articles

To help you better understand the spinal anatomy, the specific functions of the vertebrae and the problems that may arise, we have compiled the following articles for your review:

At Laser Spine Institute, our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons treat various forms of spinal degeneration with minimally invasive spine surgery. These advanced decompression and stabilization procedures help relieve neck and back pain by decompressing the pinched nerve near the spine. Because these procedures are minimally invasive, our patients can avoid the higher risks of complication and longer recovery times^ associated with traditional open spine surgery. Contact us to learn more about our outpatient procedures.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. We can provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our procedures and help you take the next step on your journey to wellness.