The spine is a column of 33 bones, called vertebrae, that stack on
top of each other, extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Most
vertebrae are separated by discs that act as shock absorbers for the spine.
The spinal column is the main structure to support movement. The
structures of the spine also surround and protect the spinal cord, which is a
soft bundle of nerves that stretches from the base of the brain to the lower back. The spinal
cord allows complex communication between the brain and the body.
The spine is also sometimes called the spinal column or
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.