Components of a Vertebra
1. Superior articular process
2. Inferior articular process
3. Vertebral body
4. Vertebral branch (pedicle + lamina)
5. Spinous process
6. Transverse process
Superior Articular Process
The component of the vertebrae that sticks upwards and connects with the inferior articular process to form a facet joint.
Inferior Articular Process
The component of the vertebrae that sticks downwards and connects with the inferior articular process to form a facet joint.
Essentially "fins" of the vertebrae that act as sites for muscle attachment.
The part of the vertebrae that extends posteriorly.
Consists of the pedicle and the lamina.
The pedicle is the part of the arch that is touching the vertebral body. The lamina is the part that extends between the articular processes.
The joint formed between the joining of the superior articular process of one vertebra and the inferior articular process of another vertebra.
A hole (foramen) in the cervical vertebra that allows the vertebral arteries to pass through them.
"Atypical" Cervical Vertebrae
C1 and C2
C1 is known as the atlas and C2 is known as the axis
They interact with each other to allow rotation.
A very prominant spinous process located on C7.
Superior Costal Facet
Part of thoracic vertebrae where the head of the rib attaches to form the costal vertebral joint.
The joint between the head of the rib and the superior costal facet.
The joint between the costal tubercle of the rib and the transverse process of the vertebra.
Dens / Odontoid
Part of the axis, or C2.
Sticks up into C1
Essentially just a ring. There is no spinous process, just a remnant known as the posterior tubercle.
It also has a facet for the dens on the anterior side.
Anterior Sacroiliac Ligaments
A ligament attaching the iliac crest to the sacrum.
Uncovertebral joints occur on the side of the vertebrae.
Attaches the skull to the atlas (C1). The superior articular facet (lateral mass) attaches to the occipital condyle of the skull.
A disk that is kind of like a jelly donut that is between every vertebrae except C1 and C2 (because of the dens of the axis). It consists of a tough outer layer known as the anulus fibrosus with shock absorbing material on the inside known as the nucleus pulposus.
Disks absorb stress, and naturally wear out over time.
Disks do not get blood supply, so all nutrients must diffuse in which takes time. Because of this, healing takes a long time.
1. Anterior longitudinal ligament
2. Posterior longitudinal ligament
3. Ligamentum flavum
4. Interspinous ligament
5. Intertransverse ligament
6. Supraspinous ligament
Anterior Longitudinal Ligament
Runs along the anterior of the vertebral body. This goes longitudinally all the way up the spine.
Posterior Longitudinal Ligament
A ligament on the posterior body of the vertebrae. Runs longitudinally all the way up the spine.
Runs between the lamina of the vertebrae. These are yellow, very elastic, thick, and strong.
Discontinuous ligaments that attach between the spinous processes of the vertebrae.
A continuous ligament that runs all the way up the spine that travels along the posterior tips of the spinous processes.
A discontinous ligament that travels between the transverse processes of the vertebrae.
Attaches the dens to the skull. Goes through C1.
Transverse Ligament of Atlas
The ligament that holds the den in place. This is important so your head doesn't fall off.
A muscle that runs the longitude of the back and goes up to the neck and skull.
A muscle that runs from the ileum to the ribs.
A deep intrinsic back muscle. Runs directly along the spine.
Nerve Exits on Spine
C1 spinal nerve exits ABOVE the vertebra
C8 spinal nerve exits BELOW C7 vertebra
T1 spinal nerve exits BELOW T1 vertebra
The termination of the spinal cord. Usually ends around L1 or L2.
Below this, is the cauda equina where roots branch off.
The anterior and posterior roots below the conus medullaris.
Layers of the Spinal Cord
Dura mater (outer layer)
Arachnoid mater (middle layer)
Pia mater (inner layer)