The Vertebral Column Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in The Vertebral Column Deck (29):

vertebral column

central bony pillar of body


33 vertebrae

7 cervical
12 thoracic
5 lumbar
5 sacral (fused to form sacrum)
4 coccygeal (lower 3 fused)


structure of typical vertebra:


vertebral arch

body & vertebral arch enclosed in a space called ___

anterior weight-bearing part

posterior part
- two pedicles - form walls of vertebral arch
- two laminae - complete arch posteriorly

vertebral foramen


seven processes that typically arise from vertebral arch

1 spinous process - projects posteriorly from junction of two laminae

2 transverse processes - project laterally from junction of pedicles & laminae

4 articular processes - project superiorly & inferiorly from vertebral arch & articulate w/ corresponding processes of vertebrae above & below


pedicles are notched on ___ & ___ borders

adjacent notches of vertebrae together form ___

allow passage of ___

upper & lower

intervertebral foramina

spinal nerves


cervical vertebrae: definition

smallest of superior 24 moveable vertebrae b/c they bear less weight than larger more inferior vertebrae

allow greatest range & veriety of movement of any of vertebral regions


cervical vertebrae: characteristic features

bifid spinous processes

large vertebral foramina (to accomodate the cervical enlargement of the spinal cord)

transverse processes possess a transverse foramen (for passage of the vertebral artery & veins)


cervical vertebrae: atlas

first cervical vertebra

lacks a body & spinous process

possess anterior & posterior arches

has a lateral mass on each side w/ articular surfaces (above) for atriculation w/ the occipital condyles of the skull & (below) for articulation w/ the axis


cervical vertebrae: axis

second cervical vertebra

dens (odontoid process) projects from the superior surface

represents the body of the atlas that fused during the development w/ the axis


cervical vertebrae: vertebral prominens

seventh cervical vertebra

named b/c it has the longest spinous process of the cervical vertebra

transverse foramen is small (only transmits the vertebral veins)


thoracic vertebrae:

___ for articulation with the ribs:
- on ___ for articulation w/ ___ of ribs
- on ___ for articulation w/ ___ of ribs
- none on T___ on ___

bodies ___ from above downward & are ___-shaped

spines are ___ & ___ downward

vertebral foramen is ___ than in the cervical or lumbar regions

costal facets
sides, heads
transverse, tubercles
11 & 12, transverse

increase, heart

long, inclined



lumbar vertebrae

bodies are massive & kidney shaped

spines are thick, quadrangular shaped & project posteriorly

large vertebral foramina



consists of ___ vertebrae forming a ___-shaped bone which is ___ anteriorly

the ___ border, or base, articulates w/ the ___ lumbar vertebra, & the ___ border articulates w/ the ___

the anterior & upper margin of the first sacral vertebra bulges forward as the ___

vertebral formaina are present & form the ___

the laminae of the fifth sacral vertebra fail to meet at the midline forming the ___

the ___ & ___ surfaces of the sacrum possess foramina for the passages of the ___ (___) & ___ (___) ___ of the upper four sacral nerves

five fused, wedge, concave

upper, fifth, narrow inferior, coccyx

sacral promontory

sacral canal

sacral hiatus

anterior, posterior, anterior (ventral), posterior (dorsal), rami



small triangular bone that's usually formed from teh fusion of four coccygeal vertebrae

the first coccygeal vertebra may or may not be fused


four curvatures of the adult vertebral column



primary curvatures

developed ___

concave ___

retained throughout life as a consequence of the differences in ___ b/n the anteior & posterior parts of the vertebrae

thoracic & sacral

during fetal development




secondary curvatures

develop ___

concave ___

maintained primarily by differences in the ___ of the anterior & posterior parts of the intervertebral discs

cervical curvature becomes prominent when ___

lumbar curvature becomes prominent when ___

cervical & lumbar

after birth & reverse of primary curvatures



the infant begins to hold his or her head up

an infant assumes the upright position & begins to walk



exaggeration of the thoracic curvature

may result from erosion of the anterior parts of the thoracic vertebrae, compression fractures, etc.

often a consequence of osteoporosis



exaggeration of the lumbar curvature

often a consequence of pregnancy



lateral deviation of the vertebral column

may be caused by muscular or vertebral defects

may be idiopathic (unknown cause)


intervertebral discs:

provide ___

thickest in ___

act as ___

no disc b/n ___

most inferior disc lies between ___

strong attachment between the bodies of adjacent vertebrae

the cervical & lumbar regions, where movements of the vertebral column are greatest

shock absorbers when the load on the vertebral column is suddenly increased (e.g. when jumping from a height)

C1 & C2

L5 & S1


intervertebral discs: annulus fibrosus

consists of concentric layers of fibrocartilage which run obliquely from one vertebra to the next

the fibers of one typically run at right angles to those of adjacent ones


intervertebral discs: nucleus pulposus

ovoid mass of gelatinous material containing a large amount of water, small amount of collagen, & a few cartilage cells

situated slightly nearer to the posterior than the anterior margin of the disc


anterior longitudinal ligament

strong, wide fibrous band covering the anterior & lateral sides of the bodies & intervertebral discs

resists hyperextension (only ligament resisting hyperextension)


posterior longitudinal ligament

weaker & narrower than the anterior longitudinal ligament

runs in the vertebral canal along the posterior aspects of the bodies & intervertebral discs

resists hyperflexion & posterior herniation of the intervertebral discs


ligamentum flava

strong & important ligament

composed of yellow elastic tissue running b/n adjacent laminae of the vertebral arches

resists flexion, helps to preserve the curvatures of the vertebral column, assists in straightening of the column after flexion


ligamentum nuchae

thickening of the itnerspinous & supraspinous ligaments in the cervical region

extends from C7 to the external occipital protuberance

separates the muscles on the two sides of the neck & provides attachment for them


atlanto-occipital joint

joint b/n the superior articular surfaces of the lateral masses of the atlas & occipital condyles of the skull

permits flexion & extension (''yes" movement of the head)


atlanto-axial joints

consists of three joints:

- median joint: joint b/n the dens of axis & anterior arch of the atlas

- lateral joints: joints b/n the lateral masses of the atlas & superior facets of the axis

permit head to be turned from side to side ('no" movement of head)

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