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Spinal anatomy

The vertebral column provides structural support for the trunk and surrounds and protects the spinal cord. The vertebral column also provides attachment points for the muscles of the back and ribs. The vertebral disks serve as shock absorbers during activities such as walking, running, and jumping. They also allow the spine to flex and extend.


Review Date: 5/2/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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