The cervical spine is the portion of the spine starting at the neck and connecting to the upper back. It consists of seven vertebrae named C1 through C7. The cervical spine supports head movement, provides neck stability, and helps blood flow to the brain. The cervical spine is typically injured when forcefully jolted backward and forward, such as in rear-end car accidents and traumatic falls. Injuries to the cervical spine may result in quadriplegia, which is paralysis in the arms and legs.
The thoracic spine starts at the shoulders and runs to until the beginning of the lower back. It consists of twelve vertebrae named T1 through T12. The thoracic spine supports the back and protects the heart and lungs. Thoracic injuries are less common than injuries to the cervical spine or lumbar spine. Common thoracic injuries caused by accidents or falls are disc herniation and thoracic fractures. Severe thoracic spine injuries can cause paralysis in the legs and bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction.
The lumbar spine is located between the ribs and pelvis, and consists of five vertebrae named L1 through L5. It supports the upper body, allows movement of your trunk, and controls movement and feeling in your legs. As you grow older, the vertebrae in the lumbar spine degenerates, increasing the risk of injury from trauma. In fact, the elderly commonly suffer these spinal cord injuries from a fall. The most common lumbar spine injury is a disc herniation.
The sacral spine is at the bottom of the spine, and is located between the hips and ends at the tailbone. It consists of five bones named S1 to S5. The sacral spine supports and stabilizes the pelvis and trunk. Sacral spine injuries typically cause bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction.