Healthy neck bones, coloured X-ray. The neck contains seven vertebrae, the blocky bones that make up the spinal column (down centre). The topmost articulates with the base of the skull (top), while the vertebrae in the chest are joined to the ribs (some seen at bottom). The vertebrae are separated by soft pads called intervertebral discs, which cushion the bones and allow flexibility. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord, an extension of the brain that runs down the body.
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