The spinal column consists of 26 movable bones (31 bones in all), called vertebrae. The vertebral bones are stacked on top of one another. There is a cushioning substance, known as the disk, inbetween.
The Vertebral Bones and their Purposes
The vertebral bones are small and round in the front, which is an area called the vertebral body. In the back there are arches, canals and protrusions formed from bone. Each of these structures in the back of a vertebra has one or more of their own purposes. The purposes are:
- To stabilize the spine as a column (facet joint).
- To provide a place for the connective tissue and muscles of the back to attach (spinous and transverse processes).
- To provide a tunnel for the spinal cord to pass through (vertebral arch, neural arch or vertebral foramen).
- To provide a space where nerves exit the spinal cord and branch out to all areas of the body (intervertebral foramen) .