spine regionsMajor Regions of the Back

Cervical spine (neck)

The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull. It consists of seven vertebrae and eight pairs of cervical nerves.

Cervical pain can result from a slipped disc, osteoporosis, scoliosis and, in rare cases, structural damage due to tumors or infection. Trauma or injury, such as whiplash, can cause neck pain that takes months to improve.

Thoracic spine

The thoracic spine is the long middle portion of the back and the longest portion of the spinal column. It consists of 12 vertebrae. The ribs of the chest connect to the thoracic spine, protecting vital organs in the torso.

Thoracic pain is often caused by fractures, especially in athletes and the elderly, osteoporosis, automobile accidents, falls or other trauma.

Lumbar spine

The lumbar spine, or low back, includes the five largest and strongest vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a gel-like disc that helps absorb pressure, distribute stress and keep the vertebrae from grinding against each other.

The low back is vulnerable to many pain-provoking disorders, ranging from simple strains to a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis.

Common Symptoms of Spine Conditions

  • Neck pain – persistent aching or stiffness; sharp, localized pain; pain that radiates into the arm or hand; acute arm pain; arm numbness or weakness
  • Back pain – persistent aching or stiffness; sharp, localized pain; pain that radiates down the legs and into the feet; acute leg pain; leg numbness or weakness (Read more about low back pain / back & neck pain)
  • Hand pain – tingling, numbness or weakness
  • Imbalance – a hesitant or jerky gait
  • Bladder dysfunction and incontinence

Some conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, and ataxia have similar symptoms of spinal disorders. Your physician will work with you and Inova's spine experts to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for your condition.

Back and Neck Pain Treatment in Northern Virginia

Inova's top-rated Neurosciences team presents the leading spine treatment program in Northern Virginia and the Washington, DC, metro area. Our physicians, nurses and the entire Inova team are committed to providing you with unparalleled spine care.

At Inova, you will find an incredibly wide range of treatment alternatives, from physical therapy and rehabilitation to pain management. For patients who require surgery, Inova offers the most robust and comprehensive surgical program in the Washington capital region, with each surgeon specializing in the unique aspects of spinal surgeries which vary based on the condition and the area of the spine.

Inova's spine experts focus on the specific needs of each person suffering with back or neck pain. We have one simple goal: help you return to the activities that you enjoy most.

Contact Us

Call the Inova Spine Program with questions or to book an appointment: 703-776-4700