ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lumbar spine. Computer illustration of the five lumbar vertebrae (blue) of the human spine. The lumbar vertebrae are the largest of the unfused vertebrae in the backbone. Each vertebra comprises a wide disc-like body, with bony processes projecting out from the rear. These bony processes are muscle attachment points. Between the vertebrae are cartilaginous discs (red). These intervertebral discs serve to cushion the bones from each other, acting as a kind of shock absorber. The spinal cord runs down through gaps in the bony processes immediately behind the body of the vertebrae. The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae.
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