The Vertebral Column in General The vertebral column is a flexible, strong, central axis of vertebrates. The human vertebral column is composed of: –24 individual bones called the vertebrae –The sacrum –The coccyx (tail bone)
Back Curves The human has four major spinal curvatures: –1. The cervical –2. The thoracic –3. The lumbar –4. The pelvic
The Anatomy of the Vertebrae All vertebrae share some common features: –1. A body: a anterior column of bone that supports the weight of the spine. –2. Intervertebral disks: fibrocartilage rings between the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar disks tend to break down with age and are the main source of back pain and surgery in elderly people.
The anatomy of the vertebrae continued –3. Pedicles That form the anterior, lateral sides of the opening where the spinal cord passes (neural arch). –4. Transverse Process: projection that extends laterally from each side of the neural arch. –5. Spinous process: Projection posterior. –6. Two inferior articulating facets: Place on bottom of vertebrae that connects with the next lower vertebrae –7. Two superior articulating facets: Place on top of vertebrae that connects with the next higher vertebrae –8. Vertebral Foramen: The central canal formed by the neural arch where the spinal cord runs through the vertebrae –9. Intervertebral foramina: Small openings in the pedicle where smaller nerves travel.
Images Intervertebral Foramina Neural Images taken from: http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/BI108_2002_Groups/discs/Anatomy.htmhttp://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/BI108_2002_Groups/discs/Anatomy.htm