Most people don't give much thought to their spinal cord until they or someone they know suffers an injury to it. Then they realize just what a vital, complicated and fragile part of the body it is.
The spinal cord, like the brain, is part of the central nervous system. Going from the base of the brain to just above the waist, it is comprised of soft tissue surrounded by vertebrae. Tracts of nerves carry messages to your body from the brain. Sensory tract signals make you feel temperature and pain. Motor tract signals control your muscles.