The Spine

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Anatomy of the Human Spine

This guide provides an in-depth look at the human spine, its structure, different sections, and its critical role in the skeletal system.

Location and Structure of the Spine

The spine is located in the back and is composed of numerous vertebrae, each with spinous processes that are palpable along the back.

Spinal Sections

The spine is divided into several distinct areas:

  • Cervical Spine: The top seven bones, including the unique atlas and axis vertebrae for head rotation.
  • Thoracic Spine: Twelve vertebrae located behind the rib cage, known for their limited mobility and protective function.
  • Lumbar Spine: Comprising five larger vertebrae, these are the main load bearers of the spine.
  • Sacral and Coccygeal Bones: The lower parts of the spine, including fused sacral and coccygeal bones.

Spine Curvatures

The spine naturally curves in different areas, with lordotic curves in the lower back and kyphotic curves over the chest area.

Intervertebral Disks

Between the vertebrae are intervertebral disks that act as cushions, aiding in flexibility and shock absorption.

Spine as a Weight-Bearing Structure

The spine is designed to bear weight, much like a tree trunk, with appendages like arms and legs branching off.

Spinal Cord and Vertebral Foramen

The spinal cord runs through the vertebral foramen, a canal within the vertebrae. This structure is vital for the protection of the spinal cord.

For more detailed information on the human spine and its functions, consider consulting a healthcare professional or anatomist.