The spinal cord is made up of three different segments. Each segment has its own natural curve. The upper cervical spine and the lower lumbar spine have c-shaped curves, while the middle segment, the thoracic spine, forms a reverse c-shaped curve. Problems occur when any part of the spine curves too much or too little. Kyphosis results when the thoracic spine curves too much. Most people develop this condition as adolescents and young adults, though it can occur at any age.
The spinal cord contains 24 small rectangular-shaped bones -- the vertebrae -- which stack on top of each other and create the natural curves within each segment of the spine. The vertebrae connect to create a canal that helps protect the spinal cord from injury. Intervertebral disks sit between the vertebrae, providing cushioning for the bones.
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