Bones of the Back

The bones of the back, together, make up the vertebral column. The vertebral column is made up of 5 sections: the cervical vertebrae, the thoracic vertebrae, the lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum and the coccyx. These sections total 33 vertebrae which function together to aid locomotion and posture as well as providing support and protection.

Whilst each section of the vertebral column consists of unique and characteristic vertebrae to allow for specialised functions, there are some common features which include a vertebral body for load-bearing and the vertebral arch. Together, these form a complete hole called the vertebral foramen. When multiple vertebrae lie on top of each other, these foramina can align to form a channel named the vertebral canal. The spinal cord can be found running down the vertebral canal, protected and enclosed by the vertebral column. The vertebral arch itself has multiple features which can either be used as articulation sites for other bones or attachment sites for ligaments and muscles. Amongst these are the spinous processes, transverse processes, pedicles and lamina.

Between each vertebra lies an intervertebral disc, which allows for shock absorption and movement. There are multiple ligaments that articulate with the bones of the back and work to prevent excessive movements and strengthen the joints. Amongst these ligaments are the ligamentum flavum, interspinous ligament, supraspinous ligament, intertransverse ligaments and the anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments.

In this section, learn more about the anatomy of the bones of back (vertebral column).


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