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These joints bear the body weight when sitting or standing, and give us the flexibility to do the downward dog in yoga class.
They also allow for limited movement between adjacent vertebrae, and while the movement between any two vertebrae is minor, the summation of those limited movements throughout the entirety of the vertebral column allow for the large movements of our spine.
The intervertebral discs consist of two distinct parts, a thick, tough, fibrous outer ring called the anulus fibrosus and a soft gelatinous core called the nucleus pulposus which the anulus fibrosus surrounds.
The anulus fibrosus is made up of circular layers of fibrocartilage, which allows the discs to withstand compression.
Joints of the vertebral column lie between individual vertebrae that make up the spine. Between adjacent vertebrae lie fibrocartilaginous intervertebral discs, which absorb shock and allow movement. Joints of the vertebral column are craniovertebral joints, joints between the vertebral bodies, joints of the vertebral arches (also known as zygapophyseal joints, costovertebral joints, and the sacroiliac joints.
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