The bones of the spine define its range of motion; the joints and associated ligaments modify this range, but it is the muscles—with the assistance of gravity—that produce movement. The muscles of the spine also help maintain posture; disperse loads applied to the spine and spare the ligaments from injury; and as a result of their sheer bulk, help protect the spine from external forces. Muscles with a direct attachment to the spine are divided into those that attach anteriorly and flex the spine and those that attach posteriorly and extend it.
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