Bones in the spine

Vertebrae, cartilage discs and the spinal cord canal

The spine is divided into separate regions – the lower back (known as the lumbar spine), the back of the chest (the thoracic spine) and the neck (cervical spine).

Serious injury to the spine or spinal cord in Rugby is very rare. However, injury to the spinal cord in the neck can happen and result in paralysis and disability or even worse.

The spine is made up of a column of bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other and separated by cartilage discs which act as shock absorbers. The spinal cord runs in a meninges lined canal that sits behind the main vertebral bodies and is protected by bony prominences to which the muscles of the back and neck attach. Multiple nerves come off the spinal cord between the vertebrae.