General characteristics of the Spine

The spine is make of vertebrae that connect together to defend the spinal cord.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe main functions of the vertebral bones are for structure ( posture ) and protection the the spinal cord.The spine is separation into 5 regions: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and also coccyx.The vertebrae that the sacrum and coccyx space fused, but those the the cervical, thoracic, and lumber areas are totally free to articulate.Viewed laterally, the vertebral shaft presents number of curves that correspond come the column’s various regions—the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.Key Termsvertebral column: The series of vertebrae that protect the spinal cord; the spinal column.vertebrae: The bones that comprise the spinal column.

Human vertebral column: The vertebral column has 33 bones. Each color represents a ar of the column.


The vertebral tower (also known as the backbone or spine), is a tall, thin organ situated dorsally that extends from the basic of the spine to the pelvis. The protects the spinal cord and provides a an essential attachment suggest for plenty of muscle groups.

There room 33 vertebrae in the human spine the are split into four regions the correspond to the curvature that the spine; the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and also coccyx. The vertebrae the the sacrum and also coccyx space fused, yet those of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar areas are separated by intervertebral discs.

Vertebrae are provided an alphanumeric descriptor, through the early letter obtained from the region they are situated in followed by a digit; the digit increases moving down the region. For example, the most superior cervical vertebra is termed C1 and the most inferior C7, which is then followed by the T1 vertebrae the the thoracic region.

Viewed laterally the vertebral pillar presents numerous curves that correspond come the various regions that the column. These are called the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic regions.

The cervical curve consists the region between vertebrae C1 and T2, the is the least significant of all the spinal curves.The thoracic curve consist of the an ar between vertebrae T2 and also T12.The lumbar curve consist of the an ar between vertebrae T12 and also L5 and also is more significant in the females than in males due to distinctions in pelvic structure.The sacral curve begins at the sacrovertebral articulation, and also ends at the suggest of the coccyx.

The thoracic and sacral curves space termed primary curves because they alone are existing during fetal life. The cervical and also lumbar curves are secondary curves the are occurred after birth; the former when the son is maybe to preserve an upright posture, the last when the child begins to walk.


Parts of a Vertebra

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


Learning Objectives

Identify the components of a vertebra


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe vertebral procedures can provide the framework rigidity, assist it articulate with ribs, or offer as muscle attachment points.When the vertebrae are articulated through each other, your bodies type a solid pillar for the support of the head and trunk, and also the vertebral foramina constitute a canal for the security of the spinal cord.Two transverse processes and also one spinous process are posterior come the vertebral body.Two superior and also two worse articular processes articulate with the adjoining vertebrae. They allow for a tiny degree of motion in the spine, but greatly combine it.In in between every pair the vertebrae room two apertures, the intervertebral foramina, one on one of two people side, for the infection of the spinal nerves and also vessels.Key Termsprocess: an outgrowth of tissue or cell.vertebral arch: The posterior part of a vertebra v which the spinal cord passes.

When articulated together the vertebrae form a solid yet flexible framework that encloses the vertebral foramen, or opening, wherein the spinal cord sits. It also provides a base for numerous muscle attachments and also articulations with other bones.

The strength and flexibility the this structure is produced by the framework of the separation, personal, instance vertebrae. Consisted of of bone and cartilage, the construction of a vertebra varies based on its ar within the body, although there are common features linked with those of the upper region.

A usual vertebra that the upper region of the spine is composed of two regions:

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

Located between each pair the vertebrae are two laterally located openings:

The intervertebral foramina that facilitate accessibility to the spinal cord because that nerves and also vessels.The intervertebral discs the act together ligaments in between the vertebral bodies.

The vertebral arch is created from two, short, special processes called pediments that prolong posteriorly native the lateral political parties of the vertebral body, before joining with each other at the midline through the laminae.


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Oblique check out of cervical vertebra: The components of a person vertebra.


Vertebral Processes

There room seven processes that job from a typical vertebra.

Four articular procedures originate from the joint in between the pedicles and also laminae, two allude superiorly and also two allude inferiorly. They connect with the zyhapophysis, a socket because that the articular processes, that the adjacent vertebrae to make the spine more stable and also to facilitate a tiny degree the articulation.

A single spinous process projects backwards and downwards from the center of the vertebral arch and it serves as a significant attachment suggest for muscles and also ligaments the the back.

The 2 transverse processes project laterally native the join between the pedicle and also lamina and likewise serve together an attachment suggest for muscles and ligaments the the back. The transverse processes articulate through the ribs in conjunction v the vertebral body.


Regional Vertebral Characteristics

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


Learning Objectives

Identify the different varieties of vertebrae


Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe top three areas of the vertebral pillar are articulating vertebrae group under the names cervical, thoracic and also lumbar, according to the regions they occupy.Vertebrae are offered an alphanumeric descriptor, with the initial letter acquired from the region they are situated in followed by a digit that boosts moving down the region. For example, the most superior cervical vertebrae is termed C1 and also the most inferior C7, which is then complied with by the T1 vertebrae that the thoracic region.The two lower most regions of vertebrae room the sacrum and also the coccyx.

The vertebrae making up the spinal column deserve to be divided into five regions, based upon the five varying curvatures of the spine. The upper three areas of the spinal shaft are termed the cervical, thoracic, and also lumbar; castle contain personal jointed vertebrae. The two reduced regions—the sacrum and also coccyx, or tailbone—are created from unify vertebrae.

Upper Vertebrae

Vertebrae are offered an alphanumeric descriptor, v the early stage letter derived from the region they are situated in adhered to by a digit that increases moving down the region. For example, the most superior cervical vertebrae is termed C1 and the many inferior C7, i beg your pardon is then adhered to by the T1 vertebrae of the thoracic region.

The cervical region of the spine is the many superior and also contains seven tiny vertebrae. The main duty of the cervical region is to facilitate attachments of the skull come the spine, defend the spinal cord over the exposed neck and shoulder region, and also support the body.


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


The twelve thoracic vertebrae are located inferiorly to the cervical region. Lock are larger than the cervical vertebrae and also increase in size moving inferiorly come the lumbar region.


Thoracic vertebra: picture of a typical thoracic vertebra.


The 5 lumbar vertebrae space the biggest vertebral bones and increase in size when relocating inferiorly. The lumbar vertebrae beat a an essential role in supporting the body and also facilitating locomotion.


Lumbar vertebra: photo of usual lumbar vertebra.


Lower Vertebrae

During childhood the five vertebrae of the sacral an ar are distinct. In adulthood the five bones fuse to type the sacrum, although it is still often divided into regions termed S1–S5 based on the development of the initial individual bones. The sacrum features to support the body and also protect organs of the pelvis and also lower back.

The final region of the spine is the coccyx, or tailbone. Similar to the sacrum, the coccyx is formed from numerous vertebrae that have actually fused together.

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As it’s alternative name suggests, the coccyx develops the communication of a tail that has actually been lost in humans, although the is incorrect come think the it together a vestigial structure since is a key attachment allude for numerous muscles and ligaments and also plays a crucial role in sustaining the body while sitting.