Nearly 30% of our joints in our entire body are found in our spine. The bones of our spine are called vertebrae and most of them are shaped like short cylinders with a bony arch on the back side that surrounds the spinal cord and spiny projections coming from the arch where muscles attach. There are 7 vertebrae that make up the cervical (neck) region and 12 that make up the thoracic (mid-back) region. Attaching to the thoracic vertebrae are our 12 ribs that house our heart and lungs. Making up our lumbar (low back) region are 5 larger vertebrae. Below that are 5 vertebrae and another set of 4 that have fused during adolescence to form the sacrum and coccyx respectively. Some of us may have one more or one less vertebrae in any region due to natural variations.
Sandwiched between each of our unfused vertebrae, with exception of the the first two cervical vertebrae, are intervertebral discs that are rings of firm rubbery material with a gelatinous middle, something like a jelly doughnut. (By the way, these are the most Primal sandwiches and jelly doughnuts you’ll ever come across!). These discs provide shock absorption and, along with spinal ligaments that connect each vertebrae to the next, allow our spine to bend or rotate and then come back to a resting position.