The Back

The back is found posteriorly and includes the vertebral column, the muscles that support the back and the spinal cord.

The vertebral column consists of 33 vertebrae which can be split up into 5 continuous sections. Each section is functionally different and is specialised for either weight-bearing, movement, protection and/or posture. Despite having functionally different roles, the basic anatomy of each vertebra is very comparable throughout the entire spinal cord. Furthermore, between each single vertebra you will see an intervertebral disc, which is specialised for shock absorption and movement.

Found within the vertebral column is the spinal cord. This is a continuation of the brainstem and therefore contains the 3 meningeal layers also found within the brain. The spinal cord gives off various spinal nerves at each spinal level to allow for sensory/motor innervation.

The muscles of the back can be classified as either deep, intermediate and superficial. Each of these 3 classes have distinct roles in support, movement and/or aiding in specialised functions such as in inspiration/expiration.

In this section, learn more about the vertebral column, the muscles of the back and the spinal cord.

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Bones of the Back

  • The Vertebral Column

Muscles of the Back

  • The Intrinsic Back Muscles
  • The Superficial Back Muscles
  • +1 more

Nerves of the Back

  • The Spinal Cord


Imaging Modalities

Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning

by Sam Barnes and Chris Quach (Pulse Radiology)

Bones of the Head

The Occipital Bone

by Sharanya Bhaskaran

Muscles of the Leg

Muscles in the Anterior Compartment of the Leg

by Oliver Jones