General Characteristics of the Spine

The spine is made of vertebrae that connect together to safeguard the spinal cord.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe primary attributes of the vertebral bones are for structure ( posture ) and protection of the spinal cord.The spine is separation into five regions: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx.The vertebrae of the sacrum and coccyx are fused, yet those of the cervical, thoracic, and also wood regions are cost-free to articulate.Viewed laterally, the vertebral column presents several curves that correspond to the column’s different regions—the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and also sacral.Key Termsvertebral column: The series of vertebrae that defend the spinal cord; the spinal column.vertebrae: The bones that comprise the spinal column.

Person vertebral column: The vertebral column has 33 bones. Each shade represents a section of the column.


The vertebral column (also known as the backbone or spine), is a tall, thin organ situated dorsally that exoften tends from the base of the spine to the pelvis. It protects the spinal cord and gives a key attachment point for plenty of muscle groups.

Tbelow are 33 vertebrae in the humale spine that are break-up right into four areas that correspond to the curvature of the spine; the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and coccyx. The vertebrae of the sacrum and coccyx are fprovided, yet those of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions are separated by intervertebral discs.

Vertebrae are provided an alphanumeric descriptor, through the initial letter acquired from the area they are located in complied with by a digit; the digit rises moving dvery own the region. For instance, the a lot of superior cervical vertebra is termed C1 and the most inferior C7, which is then followed by the T1 vertebrae of the thoracic area.

Viewed laterally the vertebral column presents a number of curves that correspond to the different regions of the column. These are referred to as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic areas.

The cervical curve covers the region between vertebrae C1 and also T2, it is the least marked of all the spinal curves.The thoracic curve covers the region between vertebrae T2 and also T12.The lumbar curve covers the area between vertebrae T12 and L5 and also is even more noted in the females than in males due to differences in pelvic framework.The sacral curve begins at the sacrovertebral articulation, and also ends at the suggest of the coccyx.

The thoracic and also sacral curves are termed main curves because they alone are present during fetal life. The cervical and lumbar curves are secondary curves that are developed after birth; the former when the kid is able to keep an upright posture, the last when the boy starts to walk.


Parts of a Vertebra

A vertebra is composed of 2 parts: an anterior segment, or the vertebral body; and a posterior component, or the vertebral (neural) arch.


Learning Objectives

Identify the components of a vertebra


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe vertebral processes have the right to provide the framework rigidity, assist it articulate with ribs, or serve as muscle attachment points.When the vertebrae are articulated via each various other, their bodies develop a solid pillar for the support of the head and trunk, and also the vertebral foramina constitute a canal for the defense of the spinal cord.Two transverse processes and also one spinous process are posterior to the vertebral body.Two exceptional and also two inferior articular processes articulate via the adjoining vertebrae. They permit for a little level of motion in the spine, but substantially strengthen it.In in between every pair of vertebrae are two apertures, the intervertebral foramina, one on either side, for the transmission of the spinal nerves and vessels.Key Termsprocess: An outexpansion of tconcern or cell.vertebral arch: The posterior component of a vertebra via which the spinal cord passes.

When articulated together the vertebrae form a strong yet versatile framework that encloses the vertebral foramales, or opening, where the spinal cord sits. It likewise offers a base for many muscle attachments and also articulations through various other bones.

The toughness and also adaptability of this structure is created by the framework of the individual vertebrae. Comprised of bone and cartilage, the configuration of a vertebra varies based upon its location within the body, although there are prevalent functions associated via those of the upper region.

A typical vertebra of the top area of the spine consists of 2 regions:

The anterior vertebral body which is the suggest of articulation in between the vertebrae.The posterior vertebral or neural arch that encloses the spinal cord.

Located between each pair of vertebrae are two laterally situated openings:

The intervertebral foramina that facilitate access to the spinal cord for nerves and vessels.The intervertebral discs that act as ligaments between the vertebral bodies.

The vertebral arch is created from 2, brief, thick processes referred to as pediments that extfinish posteriorly from the lateral sides of the vertebral body, before joining together at the midline with the laminae.


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Oblique see of cervical vertebra: The components of a huguy vertebra.


Vertebral Processes

Tbelow are salso procedures that project from a typical vertebra.

Four articular processes originate from the joint in between the pedicles and also laminae, 2 allude superiorly and also 2 allude inferiorly. They connect via the zyhapophysis, a socket for the articular procedures, of the adjacent vertebrae to make the spine more steady and to facilitate a little degree of articulation.

A single spinous process jobs backwards and downwards from the facility of the vertebral arch and also it serves as a major attachment suggest for muscles and also ligaments of the earlier.

The two transverse procedures task laterally from the sign up with in between the pedicle and also lamina and also serve as an attachment point for muscles and ligaments of the ago. The transverse processes articulate with the ribs in conjunction with the vertebral body.


Regional Vertebral Characteristics

The vertebrae of the spinal column are separated into 5 regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx.


Learning Objectives

Identify the various kinds of vertebrae


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe top three areas of the vertebral column are articulating vertebrae grouped under the names cervical, thoracic and also lumbar, according to the areas they occupy.Vertebrae are offered an alphanumeric descriptor, via the initial letter acquired from the area they are situated in adhered to by a digit that boosts moving dvery own the region. For example, the most exceptional cervical vertebrae is termed C1 and also the a lot of inferior C7, which is then adhered to by the T1 vertebrae of the thoracic area.The two reduced most regions of vertebrae are the sacrum and the coccyx.

The vertebrae making up the spinal column can be separated into five areas, based upon the five varying curvatures of the spine. The upper 3 areas of the spinal column are termed the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar; they contain individually jointed vertebrae. The two lower regions—the sacrum and also coccyx, or tailbone—are created from foffered vertebrae.

Upper Vertebrae

Vertebrae are given an alphanumeric descriptor, through the initial letter obtained from the area they are located in adhered to by a digit that increases moving dvery own the area. For instance, the a lot of exceptional cervical vertebrae is termed C1 and the the majority of inferior C7, which is then adhered to by the T1 vertebrae of the thoracic area.

The cervical region of the spine is the many exceptional and also includes salso tiny vertebrae. The major function of the cervical area is to facilitate attachment of the skull to the spine, defend the spinal cord over the exposed neck and shoulder area, and support the body.


Cervical vertebra, lateral view: The lateral see of a typical cervical vertebra.


The twelve thoracic vertebrae are located inferiorly to the cervical region. They are bigger than the cervical vertebrae and also rise in dimension moving inferiorly to the lumbar area.


Thoracic vertebra: Image of a typical thoracic vertebra.


The five lumbar vertebrae are the biggest vertebral bones and increase in size once relocating inferiorly. The lumbar vertebrae play a key role in sustaining the body and facilitating locomovement.


Lumbar vertebra: Image of typical lumbar vertebra.


Lower Vertebrae

Throughout childhood the 5 vertebrae of the sacral region are distinctive. In adulthood the 5 bones fuse to form the sacrum, although it is still often divided right into regions termed S1–S5 based on the development of the original individual bones. The sacrum attributes to support the body and defend organs of the pelvis and reduced ago.

The last area of the spine is the coccyx, or tailbone. Similar to the sacrum, the coccyx is developed from several vertebrae that have actually fsupplied together.

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As it’s alternative name suggests, the coccyx creates the basis of a tail that has been shed in human beings, although it is incorrect to think of it as a vestigial framework because is a crucial attachment suggest for many kind of muscles and also ligaments and plays a crucial duty in sustaining the body while sitting.