• Cauda Equina Syndrome

    Cauda Equina Syndrome

    What Cauda equina syndrome is an emergency condition characterized by persistent severe lower back pain caused by the compression of a bundle of spinal nerves (cauda equina) at the end of the spinal cord (lower back and hip region).

  • Fracture of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine

    Fracture of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine

    The backbone is made of small bones arranged from the neck down to the buttocks, one above the other. The region at the chest and lower back are called the thoracic and lumbar spine, respectively. These are the two regions commonly affected by a fracture.

  • Herniated Disc

    Herniated Disc

    Disc herniation is one of the common causes of back pain. The intervertebral discs are flat and round, present between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers when you walk or run. There is a soft, gelatinous material in the centre (nucleus pulposus) that is encased in strong elastic tissue to form a ring around it called annulus fibrosus.

  • Kyphosis


    Kyphosis is a condition of abnormal curvature of the spine that causes rounding of the upper back or a hunchback. The thoracic portion of the spine normally has a C-shaped curve, but excessive forward curve in the spine leads to kyphosis.

  • Sciatica


    The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It begins in the lower back and extends through the buttocks down the back of each leg to the thighs and feet.

  • Scoliosis


    Scoliosis is a condition characterized by the abnormal curvature of the spine that causes a deviation to one side. It causes a physical deformity, making the spine look like the letter “C” or “S” instead of the letter “I”.

  • Spinal Fusion

    Spinal Fusion

    Spinal fusion is the surgical technique of combining two or more vertebrae. A fusion of the vertebrae involves the insertion of secondary bone tissue obtained either from an autograft (tissues from your own body) or allograft (tissues from another person) to enhance the bone healing process.

  • Spinal Stenosis

    Spinal Stenosis

    Spinal stenosis is a condition caused by the vertebral column constricting and exerting pressure on the spinal cord or neural foramen (a bony tunnel through which a nerve exits the spinal cord).

  • Spondylolysis


    Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in the vertebra that may progress into spondylolisthesis, a condition where the vertebra gets displaced from the spinal column. Spondylolysis is the cause of frequent low back pain in children.

  • Spondylolisthesis


    Spondylolisthesis is the displacement of the vertebral disc from the spinal column. Outward (forward) displacement is termed as anterolisthesis and inward (backward) displacement is termed as retrolisthesis.

  • Back Pain

    Back Pain

    Back pain is often a common symptom of many disease conditions and the back pain may range from simple or dull pain to sudden and sharp pain. If the pain persists for few days, it is acute pain whereas if continues for more than 3 months, it is considered as chronic pain.

  • Congenital Scoliosis

    Congenital Scoliosis

    Congenital scoliosis is the lateral curvature of spine that occurs in children whose vertebrae are abnormally formed during their development in the womb. This abnormality develops in the fetus at 4 to 6 weeks of gestation.

  • Early Onset Scoliosis

    Early Onset Scoliosis

    Early-onset scoliosis is the abnormal lateral curvature of spine that occurs in children who are less than 5 years. There is no known cause for a young child to have developed scoliosis at this age.

  • General Information on Spine

    General Information on Spine

    The spine, also called the back bone provides stability, smooth movement, and protects the delicate spinal cord. It is consists of bony segments called vertebrae and fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs. The vertebrae and discs form a column from the head to the pelvis providing symmetry to the body.

  • Idiopathic Scoliosis

    Idiopathic Scoliosis

    Scoliosis is a condition where there is abnormal lateral curvature of the spine that makes the spine appear as "S" or "C" curve. It can occur at any age and is seen more frequently in girls than boys. The exact cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown in most of the cases.

  • Low Back Strain

    Low Back Strain

    Low back strain or lumbar strain occurs when the muscle or the tendon in the lower back gets stretched or torn. It is caused by lifting heavy objects or overload, sitting or standing for a longer time, direct blow over the area, or sports such as basketball, baseball, or golf that involve sudden twisting of lower back can also lead to strain.

  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis

    Neuromuscular Scoliosis

    Neuromuscular scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine which is associated with the disorders that affect the nerves and muscles. Some of the medical conditions that result in curving of the spine include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, spinal bifida, and polio.

  • Other Congenital Vertebral Anomalies

    Other Congenital Vertebral Anomalies

    The spine is made up of group of bones called vertebrae. Vertebral anomalies are defects or malformations of the spine that are present during birth. These defects are categorized into malformation, disruption, and deformation.

  • Spina Bifida

    Spina Bifida

    Spina bifida is the most common birth defect which is known as neural tube defect that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Most commonly it occurs in the first month of pregnancy because of incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings.

  • Vertebral Fractures

    Vertebral Fractures

    Vertebral compression fractures occur when the normal vertebral body of the spine is squeezed or compressed. The bone collapses when too much pressure is placed on the vertebrae, resulting in pain, limited mobility, loss of height, and spinal deformities.

The spine also called the backbone, is made up of vertebral bones with cushioning intervertebral discs between them. The spine is designed to give us stability and smooth movement, as well as providing a corridor of protection for the delicate spinal cord. It is supported by muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and innervated by nerves that branch out from the centrally placed spinal cord.

Having a well-functioning healthy back is essential for our mobility and ability to participate in various activities. Understanding the anatomy of the spine enhances your ability to discuss conditions of the spine and treatment options with your doctor.

Vertebra: The spine is made up of bony segments called vertebrae, and fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs. The vertebrae and discs form a column from your head to your pelvis providing symmetry and movement to the body.

This spinal column is made up of approximately 33 vertebral bones stacked one on top of the other from the base of the skull to the pelvis. Twenty-four of these vertebrae articulate with each other, while the last nine are fused together. Each vertebra is made up of several parts:

Vertebral Body: This is the main part of the vertebra. It supports most of the load while standing and provides a platform for the attachment of the intervertebral discs.

Pedicles: These are two cylinder-shaped projections originating from the back of the vertebral body, connecting the front and back of the vertebra.

Lamina: Lamina is a pair of flat arched bones that form the roof of the spinal canal and provide support and protection to the spinal cord at the back.

Spinous Processes: These are the bony projections that arise at right angles to the midline of the lamina. These projections can be felt when touching the back.

Transverse Processes: These are bony protrusions located at the junction of the pedicle and lamina. They provide a place for the attachment of the back muscles.

Spinal Canal: This is the tunnel formed at the centre of the vertebra for the passage of the spinal cord.

Facet Joints: These are paired articular processes found at the vertebral arch. Each vertebra consists of two pairs of facet joints; one pair called superior facets articulates with the vertebra above and the other pair, inferior facets articulates with the vertebra below.

Intervertebral Discs: The intervertebral discs are flat, rounded soft tissue structures situated between two vertebral bodies of the spine. The discs are composed of a tough, fibrous outer ring called the annulus fibrous and a soft, inner core called the nucleus pulposus. Intervertebral discs function as shock absorbers for the spine. Ageing and injury can cause degeneration of these discs and cause painful rubbing of the vertebral bones.

Vertebral Column: The vertebrae are arranged one on top of the other to form the spine. The spine is categorized into 5 spinal segments: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx.

  • Cervical: The cervical spine is called the neck. It begins at the base of the skull and is comprised of seven vertebrae numbered C1 to C7. The neck supports the weight of the head and allows the greatest range of motion due to two specially shaped vertebrae, the ring-shaped atlas and the peg-shaped axis, which are the first two vertebrae.
  • Thoracic: The thoracic spine is made up of twelve thoracic vertebrae, which are numbered T1 to T12. They start from the upper chest and extend to the middle back, communicating with the ribs in the front of the chest to protect the heart and lungs.
  • Lumbar: The Lumbar spine is made up of five lumbar vertebras numbered L1 to L5. These are situated in the lower back region and are larger in size. The major function of the lumbar vertebrae is to carry the weight of the body and absorb the stress of lifting and carrying heavy objects.
  • Sacrum: The sacrum is a single bone, formed by the fusion of five sacral vertebras together. It connects the spine to the hip bones.
  • Coccyx: Also called the tailbone, the coccyx is formed from the fusion of four bones and provides attachment for muscles and ligaments to the pelvic floor.

Spinal Curves: The side view of an adult spine resembles a natural S-shaped curve. The curves provide strength and support to the spine, maintain balance, and absorb shock. Any abnormality in the spinal alignment is called a spinal deformity.

Muscles: The most important spinal muscles include the extensors, flexors, and oblique muscles, which work to stabilize the spine and allow the spine to move. Any weakness or strain in the back muscles can cause incredible strain on the spine.

  • The extensor muscles are attached to the back of the spine and help us to stand and lift objects.
  • The flexor muscles originate from the front of the spine and include the muscles of the abdomen. These help in the forward movement and lifting and control the arch of the lower back.
  • The oblique muscles are found at the sides of the body and help in the side-ways rotation of the back.

Ligaments: Spinal ligaments are strong fibrous bands that stabilize and hold the vertebrae in place. The major ligaments are the ligamentum flavum, anterior longitudinal ligament, and posterior longitudinal ligament. The anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments are continuous bands that run from the top to the bottom of the spinal column along with the vertebral bodies, and the ligamentum flavum attaches one lamina to the other. These ligaments function to maintain the alignment of the vertebrae.

Spinal Cord: The spinal cord originates from the brain and extends through the base of the skull to the lower back through the spinal canal. It is covered by three membranes called meninges. Spaces between these membranes are filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that originate from the spinal cord. These nerves carry all the information from the body to the brain, controlling sensation and movement.

Any damage or injury to the spinal cord can cause loss of sensation or function to the part of the body that the nerves supply.

The spine is a complex anatomical structure made up of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and the spinal cord. This strong spinal column provides the basic structure, support, and flexibility to the human body.

  • Bankstown
    Hospital Medical Centre

    Suite 3
    Ground floor
    68 Eldridge Road
    Bankstown, NSW 2200

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  • St George Private Hospital

    Suite 14
    Level 5, St George Private Hospital
    Medical Centre
    1 South Street
    Kogarah NSW 2217

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