Flashcards in Vertebral Column Deck (105):
What is the vertebral column also known as?
The backbone, or spine
What is the vertebral column made up of?
Approx. 33 small bones, called vertebrae
Where does the vertebral column run?
From the cranium to the apex of the coccyx, on the posterior aspect of the body
What does the vertebral column do?
Contains and protects the spinal cord
What are the most important functions of the vertebral column?
Protection Support AxisMovement
What is the vertebral columns protective role?
Encloses spinal cord, shielding it from damage
What is the vertebral columns support role?
It carries the weight of the body above the pelvis
How does the vertebral column act as an axis?
It forms the central axis of the body
What is the vertebral columns movement role?
It has roles both in posture and movement
What can the vertebral column be separated into?
Five different regions- cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and the coccyx
What is each region of the spinal cord characterised by?
A different vertebral structure
What do all vertebrae have?
The same basic structure, but significant differences in size and shape between groups
What does each vertebrae consist of?
Vertebral bodyPosterior vertebral arch
What is the vertebral body?
The anterior part of the vertebrae
What is the purpose of the vertebral body?
It is the weight bearing component
What happens to the vertebral body as the vertebral column descends?
The size increases
Why does the size of the vertebral body increase as the vertebral column descends?
Because it has to support increasing amounts of weight each time
What the superior and inferior aspects of the vertebral body lined by?
What are adjacent vertebral bodies separated by?
A fibrocartilaginous intervertebral disc
What do the intervertebral discs act to do?
Permit flexibility of the spineAct as a shock absorbers
What shape are the intervertebral discs in the lumbar and thoracic regions?
What does the wedge shape of the intervertebral discs allow?
Support for curvature of the spine
What are the two main regions of the vertebral disc?
Nucleus pulposus Annulus fibrosis
What is the nature of the annulus fibrosis?
Tough and collagenous
What does the annulus fibrosis surround?
The nucleus pulposus
What is the nature of the nucleus pulposus?
Where is the nucleus pulposus located?
What happens in herniation of the intervertebral disc?
The nucleus pulposus ruptures, breaking through the annulus fibrosis
In what direction does herniation of the intervertebral disc most commonly occur?
In a posterior and lateral direction
What is the result of the posterior and lateral herniation of the intervertebral discs?
It puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in a variety of neurological and muscular symptoms
What does the vertebral arch refer to?
The lateral and posterior parts of the vertebrae
What does the vertebral arch from with the vertebral body?
An enclosed hole, called a vertebral foramen
What do the foramina of all vertebrae do?
Line up to form the vertebral canal
What does the vertebral canal do?
Encloses the spinal cord
What do the vertebral arches have?
A number of bony prominences
What do the bony prominences of the vertebral arches act as?
Attachment sites for muscles and ligaments
What are the bony prominences of the vertebral arch?
Pedicles Lamina Transverse processesArticular processes Spinous processes
How many pedicles are there per vertebral arch?
Two, one left and one right
Where to the pedicles point?
What do the pedicles meet?
The flatter laminae
What is the lamina?
The bone between the transverse and spinal processes
Where do the transverse processes extend?
Laterally and posteriorly away from the pedicles
What do the transverse processes do in the thoracic vertebrae?
Articulate with the ribs
What are the kinds of articular processes?
Superior and inferior
Where do the articular processes arise?
At the junction of the lamina and the pedicles
What do the articular processes articulate with?
The vertebrae above and below
What are the spinous processes?
Posterior and inferior projections of bones
What are the spinous processes a site for?
Attachment for muscles and ligaments
Draw a diagram showing the bony prominences of vertebrae
How many cervical vertebrae are there in the human body?
What are the main distinguishing features of cervical vertebrae?
The spinous process bifurcates into two parts
Two transverse foramina, one in each transverse process
The vertebral foramen is triangular in shape
What is the spinous process in cervical vertebrae known as?
A bifid spinous process
What do the transverse foramina in cervical vertebrae do?
Conduct the vertebral arteries
Which cervical vertebrae are unique?
C1 and C2
What is the C1 vertebrae called?
What is the C2 vertebrae called?
What are the C1 and C2 vertebrae specialised to do?
Allow movement of the head
How does the C7 cervical vertebrae differ from the others?
It has a much longer spinous process, which does not bifurcate
How many thoracic vertebrae are there?
What size are the thoracic vertebrae?
Medium sized, increasing as they move down the back
What is the main function of the thoracic vertebrae?
To articulate with the ribs, producing the bony thorax
What does each thoracic vertebrae have?
Two 'demi facets' on each side of its vertebral body
What do the demi facets of the thoracic vertebrae articulate with?
The head of the respective rib, and the rib inferior to it
What is found on the transverse processes of the thoracic vertebrae?
A costal facet for articulation with its respective rib
How are the spinous processes of thoracic vertebrae orientated?
Slanted inferiorly and anteriorly
What is the result of the slanting of the spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae?
It offers increased protection to the spinal cord
How does the vertebral foramen of the thoracic vertebrae differ from the cervical?
Which are the largest of the vertebrae?
How many lumbar vertebrae are there?
What do the lumbar vertebrae act to do?
Support the weight of the upper body
What specialisations do lumbar vertebrae have to allow them to support the weight of the upper body?
Very large vertebral bodies
What shape are the vertebral bodies of lumbar vertebrae?
What characteristics of vertebrae do lumbar vertebrae lack?
No foramen transversarium, costal facets, or bifid spinous processes
What shape is the vertebral foramen of the lumbar vertebrae?
What is the sacrum?
A collection of five fused vertebrae
What is the sacrum described as?
An upside down triangle, with the apex pointing inferiorly
What is found in the lateral walls of the sacrum?
Facets for articulation with the pelvis
Where does the sacrum articulate with the pelvis?
At sacro-iliac joints
What is the coccyx?
A small bone
What does the coccyx articulate with?
The apex of the sacrum
How is the coccyx recognised?
By its lack of vertebral arches
What is the result of the lack of vertebral arches in the coccyx?
It has no vertebral canal, and so the coccyx doesn't transmit the spinal cord
How many articulations are there for each vertebrae?
What do the vertebral bodies articulate with?
Indirectly, with each other
Articular processes also form joint
What kind of joints are the vertebral body joints?
What are the vertebral body joints designed to do?
How are the vertebral bodies connected?
By a fibrocartilage intervertebral disc
What ligaments strengthen the vertebral bodies?
Anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments
Is the anterior and posterior longitudinal ligament thicker?
What do the anterior longitudinal ligament do?
Prevents hyperextension of the vertebral column
What does the posterior longitudinal ligament?
What are the joints between the articular facets called?
What do the facet joints allow?
Some gliding motion
What ligaments strengthen the facet joints?
Interspinous and Supraspinous ligaments
Where does ligamentum flavum extend?
From lamina to lamina
What do interspinous and supraspinous ligament join?
The spinous processes
How do the interspinous and supraspinous ligaments joint the spinous processes?
The interspinous ligaments attach between processes
The supraspinous ligaments attach to the tips
Where do the intertransverse ligaments extend?
Between the transverse processes
What clinical syndromes result from abnormal curvature of the spine?
What is kyphosis?
Excessive thoracic curvature, causing a humpback deformity
What is lordosis?
Excessive lumbar curvature, causing a swayback deformity
What is scoliosis?
A lateral curvature of the spine, usually of unknown cause
What is cervical spondylosis?
A decrease in size of the intervertebral foramina, usually due to degeneration of the joints of the spine
What does cervical spondylosis cause?