Illustration of the spine
Previous Next 1 of 4 How your back is built

Your spine is made up of 30 bones stacked in a column. Each of these bones is called a vertebra. From the side, your vertebral column has a natural curve toward the back of your body as it passes through your upper chest, balanced by a similar curve toward the front through the lower vertebrae. Joints between the vertebrae in your neck enable you to tilt, rotate and flex your neck. Joints between the larger vertebrae in your lower back (lumbar spine) enable you to bend, turn and twist at your waist.

Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic’s experts.

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

See more Multimedia March 24, 2021