The spinal cord, like the brain, has two major layers of protection. First are the vertebrae of the spine, and underneath those are three layers of tough membrane called the meninges. The meninges surround both brain and spinal cord and are filled with a liquid called cerebrospinal fluid.
The spinal cord can suffer physical damage that can hamper or even halt communication between brain and body. If the spinal cord is severed, the part of the body below the damage is cut off from the commands of the brain, which causes paralysis. The spinal cord can also be afflicted by disease or disorder.
Human Spine and Spinal Cord Picture C1 – S5 Vertebra. Outline: Information and pictures of the spine and spinal cord showing C1 to S5 vertebra and which vertebra effect various body functions. The human spinal cord is about 45 cm (18 in) in men and 43 cm (17 in) long in women.