Difference Between Backbone and Spinal cord

A bundle of nerves, the spinal cord runs inside the cavity, bone tunnel of the vertebral column, which forms the bones of the back. The vertebrae together forms the backbone. The vertebral column is a segmented bony structure supporting the head/torso and thorax. The spinal cord runs in the vertebral column. Although they run together, they are completely separate and have distinct structures.

The backbone consists of vertebrae, protecting the spinal cord while the spinal cord facilitates the linking of the brain to the body parts for the exchange of motor and sensory information.

Both the backbone and spinal cord are posteriorly located. While the backbone is an integral part of the skeletal system, the spinal cord forms a major part of the central nervous system found in the backbone. During the initial stages of development, both the backbone and the spinal cord are similar in length. Eventually, over time, they start differing in size.

Difference Between Backbone and Spinal cord

Following are some of the important differences between Backbone and Spinal cord.


Spinal cord

Part of this system

Part of the skeletal system

Part of the central nervous system


Made up of vertebrae

It is a long nerve sheath

Association with each other

Holds the spinal cord

Found inside the backbone

Length in humans

Longer than spinal cord

Shorter than backbone


Protects the spinal cord, renders support to the body, provides body posture

Regulates vital activities of the body by mediating with body parts and the brain

Those were some differences between the backbone and the spinal cord. Watch this space at BYJU’S for more such differences for NEET preparation.

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