The Vertebral Column Flashcards Preview

MSK > The Vertebral Column > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Vertebral Column Deck (49):

Movements of the vertebral column?

Flexion (bowing) and extension
Abduction/lateral flexion


Functions of the vertebral column?

-centre of gravity
-attachments for bones
-attachments for trunk muscles
-protection and passage of the spinal cord
-allows segmental nerves to leave/join the cord at unspecified points along the continuum of the vertebral column to supply their targets


Presentation of the spinal cord in the foetus?

Lies flexed in a single curvature - the primary curvature


This does the vertebral column present in a young adult?

With 4 distinct curvatures
Spinous bends give the column great resistance


What type of curvature do each of the regions of the spinal cord have?

Cervical - secondary (cervical convexity)
Thoracic - primary (thoracic concavity)
Lumbar - secondary (lumbar convexity)
Sacral - primary (sacral concavity)


What happens in old age to the shape of the vertebral column?

Secondary curvatures start kf disappear and the VC returns t its original shape in the foetus.
Fully continuous primary curvature as the VC closes up


How many vertebrae are there?



What are the two assemblies of the vertebrae?

Discrete single vertebrae - 24 of these, all capable of individual movement
Fused vertebrae- 9 fused to give two innominate structures:
-sacrum (5 fused)
-coccyx (4 fused)


Two parts of a vertebra?

A vertebral body anteriorly
A vertebral/neural arch posteriorly


Features of a vertebral body?

Largest part of the vertebra (usually)
Main weight bearing part
Main site of contact between adjacent vertebrae
Lined with hyaline cartilage
Linked to adjacent vertebrae by intervertebral discs


What are the three process called which emerge from the vertebral arch?

1 spinous process
2 transverse processes


What is the pedicle?

The part of he arch between the body and the transverse process


What is the lamina?

Part of the neural arch between the transverse and spinous process


What do articular processes allow for?

Synovial joints to be formed between neural arches of adjacent vertebrae


Functions of synovial joints between vertebrae?

Prevent anterior displacement of vertebrae
Allow for limited movement
Bear weight when upright


What forms the intervertebral foramen?

Superior and inferior notches on the pedicle


What passes through the intervertebral foramen?

Segmental nerves


Which regions of the vertebral column are intervertebral discs found?

C2/3 to L5/S1


What type of joint do IV discs form?

Secondary cartilaginous joints (symphyses)


Functions of the IV discs?

Act as shock absorbers
Give the secondary curvature due to their wedge shape
Give flexibility to the vertebral column


Two regions of the IV disc?

Central - nucleus pulposus
Outer - annulus fibrosus


Structure of annulus fibrosus?

Series of annular bands with various orientations
Outer bands are collagenous
Inner are fibro-cartilaginous


Talk about degenerative annular disease

Degeneration of the annulus fibrosis
Leads to osteophytosis at end plates and disc space margins
Usually seen in thoracolumbar spine in people over 50


What are the two major ligaments which strap all of the vertebrae together?

Anterior and posterior longitudinal ligament


Where does the anterior longitudinal ligament extend to and from?

Anterior tubercle of the atlas to the front of the upper part of the sacrum


Features of the anterior longitudinal ligament?

Very strong
Broadens as it passes downwards
Firmly united to periosteum of vertebral bodies and free over the discs


Where does the posterior longitudinal ligament extend to and from?

Back of the body of the second cervical vertebra to the canal of the sacrum


Features of the posterior longitudinal ligament?

Narrows as it passes downwards
Has serrated margins - broadens over IV discs
Separated from vertebral bodies by basivertebral veins


What is the ligamentum flava?

A yellow ligament which joins laminae of adjacent vertebrae. Attached to the front of upper lamina and back of lower


What is the supraspinous ligament?

Joins tips of adjacent spinous processes


What is the interspinous ligament?

Unites spinous processes along their adjacent borders
Well developed in the lumbar region
Fuses with supraspinous ligaments


Where does the nuchal ligament attach?

Proximally to the back of the skull
Distally to the thoracic spinal ligaments (interspinous and supraspinous)


Function of the nuchal ligament?

Maintains secondary curvature of cervical spine
Helps the cervical spine to support the head
Major site of attachment for neck and trunk muscles


Distinguishing features of the cervical vertebrae?

Bifid spinous process
Two transverse foramen in the transverse processes
Large triangular vertebral foramen


Features of the thoracic vertebrae?

Facets of the side of the body for articulating with the head of the ribs
Facets on the transverse processes for articulations with tubercle of the ribs
Vertebral foramen is small and circular


Features of the lumbar vertebrae?

Largest of the discrete vertebrae
Vertebral foramina are triangular and small
Large columnar body which is kidney shaped
Short, broad and blunt spinous processes


What is the atlas?

Articulates with the skull and axis below


Features of the atlas

No body or spinous process
Neural arch is thick and sting
Fused with the body of the axis to form the Dens process
The widest cervical vertebra


What is the axis?



Features of the axis?

Large spinous process
Rugged lateral mass


What is whiplash? What is damaged?

Severe hyperextension of the neck
Anterior longitudinal ligament is severely stretched and may be torn
Injure posterior parts of the vertebrae
Crushing/compression of the vertebral arches


What is excessive thoracic kyphosis?

Abnormal increase in thoracic curvature (primary curvature)


What is excessive lumbar lordosis?

Characterised by anterior tilting of pelvis
Increased extension of the lumbar vertebrae producing an abnormal increase in lumbar kyphosis


What is scoliosis?

Abnormal lateral curvature of the spine accompanied by rotation of the vertebrae


What is cervical spondylosis?

Decrease in size of the vertebral foramina, usually due to the degeneration of the joints of the spine.
Smaller size of the intervertebral foramina puts pressure on the exiting nerves, causing pain.


In a herniated disc, what does the localised back pain result from?

Pressure on the longitudinal ligaments and periphery of the annulus fibrosus
Local inflammation


What is chronic pain caused by in a slipped disc?

Compression of the spinal nerve roots by the herniated disc.
Referred pain - often comes from the dermatome supplied by that nerve.


Features of the nucleus pulposus?

Jelly like
High osmotic pressure
Dehydrates with age, reducing its height


How does herniation of an IV disc occur in older people?

Flexion of the vertebral column produces compression anteriorly and stretching posteriorly, squeezing the the nucleus pulposus further posteriorly towards the thinnest part of the annular fibrosus. Nucleus pulposus may herniate and compress the spinal cord.