Merck Manual

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How the Spine Is Organized
How the Spine Is Organized

A column of bones called vertebrae make up the spine (spinal column). The vertebrae protect the spinal cord, a long, fragile structure contained in the spinal canal, which runs through the center of the spine. Between the vertebrae are disks composed of cartilage, which help cushion the spine and give it some flexibility.

Like the brain, the spinal cord is covered by three layers of tissue (meninges).

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Spinal Cord