The Vertebral Column

The Human Vertebral Column is the complex structure of the skeletal system. Popularly known as the spine or backbone, the vertebral column consists of 24 articulating vertebrae and 9 fused vertebrae. The first vertebra is located at the base of the skull while the last one at the tailbone. The articulating vertebrae are divided into cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, such that, 7 vertebrae are located in the cervical, 12 in the thoracic and 5 in the lumbar regions. Between two articulating vertebrae there is an intervertebral disc. All the 9 fused vertebrae are located in the sacral region which consists of the sacrum and the coccyx. read more »

The Thoracic Vertebrae

The thoracic vertebrae refer to the 12 vertebral segments that are designated as T-1 to T-12 that culminate into the thoracic spine.T-1 is found nearest to the skull whereas the rest can be found as you move down the vertebrae column. The thoracic vertebrae exhibit very little motion due to its firm attachment to the breastbone which is made up of the sternum and ribs.

It’s located between the cervical and the lumbar vertebrae and increases size-wise towards its lumbar counterpart. The lower vertebrae are larger than the upper ones. It’s worth noting that these vertebrae can be differentiated from the rest due to the facets that are present on the body sides which are required for articulation. read more »

The Lumbar Vertebrae

The lumbar vertebrae are the five bones which make up the portion of the spine in the lower back and sit below the thoracic region. The spine, 33 bones which extend from the skull to the pelvis is there to support the body’s weight, holding the body upright; to allow flexibility and movement such as bending and twisting; and to protect the spinal cord. The S-shape of the spine acts as a natural shock absorber, preventing the head (and therefore the brain) from jarring during movement.

The Lumbar Vertebrae

The five lumbar vertebrae are numbered L1 at the top through to L5 at the bottom. read more »

The Cervical Vertebrae

Cervical vertebrae refer to seven bony rings located in the neck between the thoracic vertebrae in the trunk and the base of the skull. These bony rings form a continuous column between the chest and the skull. It is the Cervical vertebrae that sustain damage from a whiplash injury (leading to multiple whiplash injury claim each year!)

Functions of Cervical Vertebrae

This vertebrae process performs many essential functions that are paramount to the body survival.

(a) The various joints formed between the cervical vertebrae and the skull provides effective flexibility that allows the neck and the head to extend, flex and rotate. read more »

The Coccyx

coccyxThe coccyx is actually the very bottom part of the spine. It may also be called a tailbone and is the final segment in the vertebral column. The structure of the coccyx may be anywhere from three to five vertebrae, but will vary from person to person. The top coccyx vertebrae connects with the sacral bone and each of the three first segments are connected, although they are separate bones. However, the movement between these bones is minimal, and they rarely experience much movement. Additionally, the first bone is the largest and then the remaining bones become smaller with the final piece of bone usually being extremely small. read more »

Erector Spinae = Straight Spine

erector-spinae_0The muscular system performs some of the most basic functions of the human body and what goes on within it is more complex and astonishing than most would care to imagine. Of the various muscle groups that make up the muscular system, the Erector Spinae is probably the least known. This group of muscles comprise of small muscles and tendons, which form two different groups of muscles that are located on either side of the spine. Therefore, the erector muscles are two groups of muscles that extend throughout the thoracic, lumbar and cervical regions of the body. read more »

Base Of The Spine

sacrum_0The sacrum, also referred as the sacral region, is a triangular bone found at the spine’s base and at the back section in the pelvic cavity. It inserts into the pelvic cavity like a wedge between two hip bones. The sacrum’s upper most part connects with the lumbar vertebrae and its lower section with the coccyx, also called tailbone. It starts as five unfused vertebrae which then start fusing at the age of 16 to 20. The vertebrae then fuse into a single bone at an approximate age of 30 to 34. read more »