The spine protects the spinal cord and provides a structural framework for the body. It also provides balance and stability for the body and supports the weight and extra loads placed on the body through daily activities. The spine allows for mobility and flexibility, and it provides bony attachment points for the ribs, pelvic bones and various muscles, according to YourSpine.com.
The spine is comprised of 33 stacked vertebrae with cushioning discs in between that help absorb the pressure and shocks of daily weight-bearing and keep the bones from rubbing together. The vertebrae are linked together by facet joints that create the flexibility of the spinal column, which is separated into three regions: the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Three natural curves within these regions redistribute body weight to help the spine withstand a large amount of stress, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The spinal cord connects the peripheral nervous system to the brain via 31 pairs of spinal nerves that coordinate simple reflexes and carry motor signals from the body to the brain, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. The spinal cord is protected from injury by the vertebral bons of the spine. Below the lumbar spine sits the sacrum, a specialized region of five fused vertebrae that connects directly to the pelvis. Efferent nerves in the sacral region control bowel and bladder function and innervate the groin.