About the Spine
The spine is a key component in health and wellness. This precise system
of nerves, bone and soft tissue coordinates every movement, impulse and
message throughout the body. That’s why when spine health is compromised,
the whole body begins to suffer, making it vitally important to seek care
from a trusted and experienced healthcare partner.
When it comes to successfully treating spine-related disorders, proper
evaluation and accurate diagnosis are key to developing a highly effective,
personalized treatment plan. By taking a multidisciplinary team approach
to the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of spine-related issues, thespine care experts at Hoag deliver exceptional patient care you can trust.
Below is a brief overview on the structure of the spine. For more information,
please visit the
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. For more about
Hoag Neurosurgery Spine Program, or to schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion
consultation with a Hoag spine care specialist, please call 949-764-6066.
The Anatomy of the Spine
The spine is made up of vertebrae, 24 separate bones and the fusing of
the sacrum and coccyx bones. The vertebrae form a tunnel of protection
around the spinal cord and nerves.
Between them are the cushioning discs – made up of a fibrous ring
(annulus) and a gelatinous center (nucleus) – that support weight
and also protect the spinal cord and nerves. From each disc, extend nerves
that carry impulses from the brain to the arms, legs and rest of the body
providing us movement and sensation. While discs provide greater flexibility
for the spine it is the discs that typically show the most strain and
fatigue over time.
Muscles and ligaments support the spine and keep the spine’s three
curves in normal alignment. However, bad posture, an inactive lifestyle
or incorrect movement can strain the spine and discs, causing pain and
injury. Disorders such as scoliosis, arthritis and osteoporosis affect
the spine as well.
Hoag Neurosurgery Spine Program focuses on the care and treatment of each of the spine’s three regions:
Cervical region (neck)
The top seven vertebrae – labeled C1 to C7 – connect the skull
to the spine and allow the skull to nod and swivel.
Thoracic region (shoulders to waist)
The thoracic vertebrae – also known as T1 to T12 – is the most
stable, yet the part of the spine most limited in motion because it is
connected to the ribs.
Lumbar region (lower back)
Lumbar vertebrae – labeled L1 to L5 – serve as the most weight-bearing
section of the spine.