Anatomy of the Spine

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An interactive Flash diagram of the human spine, which protects the spinal cord, holds the head and torso upright, and allows for twisting and bending of the torso. It is composed of an S-shaped stack (the shape adds resilience and maintains a balanced centre of gravity) of irregularly shaped bones called vertebrae, and divided into 5 regions; each region is designed for a specific purpose, and the vertebrae in that region are shaped differently according to that purpose—the flat vertebrae of the cervical region support and allow for rotation of the head, while the large thick vertebrae of the lumbar region provides stability for the body's weight. Vertebrae are equipped with processes that form hinges and limit the range of movement of the spine, and between the vertebrae are springy disks of tough cartilage, designed to absorb forces of up to several hundred pounds during exercise. Roll over specific segments of the spine in front, back, side, and sectional views for their names, or label the diagram with virtual paint and drawing tools.