The vertebral column (spine or backbone) is composed of bony vertebrae that are interconnected by cartilaginous intervertebral discs. The spinal cord is protected within the spinal canal of the vertebral column. The vertebral column allows movement of the head neck and back. When viewed from the side, an adult spine has a natural S-shaped curve. The curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and allow range of motion throughout the spinal column. Back pain itself can be very debilitating additional symptoms which stem due to various causes can affect the quality of life. The vertebral column consists of approximately 33 bones called vertebrae. there are 6 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral  and 4 coccygeal vertebrae are fused together. The All vertebrae share a common structure. They each consist of an anterior vertebral body which is a weight bearing structure, and a posterior vertebral arch, These vertebral arches have several bony prominences.

The abdominal and back muscles form the core muscles and maintain the normal curvature of the spine. Excess body weight, weak muscles, incorrect postures repetitive bending affect the spinal column alignment giving rise to pain. Back pain may arise due to various reasons which can be sore muscles, herniated disks, fractures, and other problems in the entire back. 

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NOTE: Above More accurate treatment cost estimates can be provided if medical reports are emailed to us or after the patient is examined by doctors after arrival at hospital in India and medical tests are done after admission.

Frequently asked questions about Vertebral Column

Which are the different regions of Vertebral column?

There are 5 regions of the vertebral columns as below:

  • Cervical
  • Thoracic
  • Lumbar
  • Sacral
  • Coccygeal
What happens when you damage your vertebrae?

Injuries to the ligament, muscle strains, fractures and dislocations of the bony vertebrae, to a severe spinal cord damage. Depending on the injury, one may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs (paralysis).

Is a broken vertebra serious?

Depending on the severity and intensity, mechanism of fracture it may be serious. Some fractures occur due to weakened bone and can be the result of a lower-impact event, such as a minor fall.

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis or bamboo spine is an inflammatory disease causes vertebrae in the spine to fuse. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and results in a hunched-forward posture. It affects men more often than women and begins in early adulthood. 

Is the vertebral column and spinal cord the same thing?

The spinal column, also called the backbone, is made up of vertebrae, discs, and the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a channel through which signal are sent and received to the brain and the peripheral nervous system. The spinal cord is surrounded by the vertebral column which travels within the spinal canal, formed from a central hole within each vertebra.

What is spondylosis ?

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related wear and tear that affect the spinal discs in the neck. The disks dehydrate and shrink, bony projections along the edges of bones (bone spurs) develop.

What is the treatment for cervical spondylosis?

Treatment for cervical spondylosis are:

Medications: over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids(steroid)
  • Muscle relaxants

Physiotherapy- exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the neck and shoulders. 

Surgery : The surgery might involve:
  • Removing a herniated disk or bone spurs-discectomy
  • Removing part of a vertebra
  • Fusing a segment of the neck using bone graft and hardware.

How do you know if your spine is damaged?

The signs and symptoms include: Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back. Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body. Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes.

What are the symptoms of vertebral fractures?

The symptoms are :

  • Sudden onset of back pain
  • Standing or walking makes the pain worse
  • Lying on one side makes the pain less intense
  • Limited spinal mobility
  • Height loss
  • Deformity and disability
What is spinal cord injury and its causes?

Spinal cord injury(SCI) is the result of a direct trauma to the nerves, or damage to the bones and soft tissues and vessels surrounding the spinal cord. Itresults in a loss of function, involving movement and sensation. 

Spinal cord injuries may result from falls, diseases like polio or spina bifida (a disorder involving incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or their protective coverings), motor vehicle accidents, fall usually in people aged 65 and above, sports injuries, industrial accidents, shootings, and physical assaults, among other causes. Osteoporosis (weak and brittle bone) and cancer can also result in SCI.

What are the treatment options for a spinal fracture?

Medical Treatment: immobilization with a brace or corset for up to 12 weeks. Bracing helps to reduce pain and prevent deformity.

Surgical Treatment

Vertebroplasty is a surgical procedure to treat compression fractures. Bone cement is used to fix the fracture vertebra which stabilizes the spine thereby reducing the symptoms.

Kyphoplasty involves supporting the fractured site and fixing it with bone cement.

Stabilization can be achieved by removing broken vertebra and replacing them with a plate, screws, or cage.

What is a cauda equina syndrome and its causes?

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) occurs when the nerve roots of the cauda equina(bundle of spinal nerves) are compressed which disrupt motor and sensory function to the lower extremities and bladder. The causes of cauda equina syndrome may be caused by a herniated disk, tumor, infection, fracture, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

What is the treatment for cauda equina syndrome?

It is best treated with decompression by a lumbar laminectomy that is removal of the lamina to make space for the spinal nerves.

What is the general healing timeline for a spinal fracture?

A fractured vertebra may need a minimum of six to eight weeks to heal.

Which are the best hospitals in India for vertebral fracture fixation?

Best spine surgery hospitals in India:

  • SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai.
  • Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.
  • Columbia Asia, Pune.
  • Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
  • Sahyadri Hospitals, Pune.
  • Manipal Hospital, HAL road, Bangalore.
  • Fortis Hospital, Kolkata.
  • MaxCure Hospitals, Hyderabad
Which hospitals are best for laminectomy in India?

The hospitals are:

  • BGS Gleneagles Hospital Bengaluru
  • MedantaMedicity Gurgaon
  • Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital
  • Fortis Hiranandani Hospital
  • Fortis Hospital Bengaluru
  • Artemis Hospital

Recent Articles

Common symptoms:

  • Back pain/ neck pain(pain can be dull aching, sharp shooting, pinching or pricking)
  • radiating pain
  • tingling 
  • numbness 
  • weakness

Common spine problems:

Cervical spondylosis-age related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in the neck

spinal stenosis:  is the narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which puts pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. 

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, and is felt usually from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg

A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue within or surrounding the spinal cord and/or spinal column. 

Kyphosis –excessive curvature in the upper back 

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) causes pain and stiffness in the spine resulting in fusion.

Spondylolisthesis affects the lower vertebrae (spinal bones). The vertebrae slip forward onto vertebrae directly beneath it. 

Prolapsed intervertebral disc(PIVD)- herniation of the intervertebral disc pressing on the nerves.

Treatment consist of medications, surgery, physiotherapy.

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