Alert

Spinal cord anatomy

Back view and top view of section of spine, showing discs, spinal cord, nerve roots, and vertebrae

The spinal cord is a soft bundle of nerves that extends from the base of the brain to the lower back. It runs through the spinal canal, which is protected by the bones of the spine (vertebrae). Messages between the brain and the nerve roots travel up and down the spinal cord. This makes it possible for the brain and body to communicate. The discs cushion the vertebrae and provide flexibility to the spine and spinal cord.

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Healthwise Symptom Checker Logo

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Top