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The spine, or the spinal column, is the central pathway for the spinal cord. The spine serves as a mechanical connection between the arms and legs. Muscles are attached to all levels of the spine. These muscles help maintain proper posture and spinal alignment.
The spinal cord extends from the brain and extends to the bottom of the spinal canal. At each level of the spine, individual nerves branch off from the spinal cord. These nerves provide the brain with information about the body, and allow the brain to control the movement and function of the body. The spine is divided into four main sections:
The spine is composed of bones called vertebrae and cartilage segments called discs. Each vertebra is made up of several elements:
Between each pair of vertebrae is a shock-absorbing disc made of cartilage. Each disc has a spongy central core surrounded by a tough outer ring. With time or trauma, the spine can become injured. Degeneration of the spine is usually related to damage to the disc. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves, which in turn causes pain or weakness in the arm, legs, or spine.
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