Last Modified: January, 2008. (J. Crimando)

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The Vertebral Column:

 The adult vertebral (spinal) column consists of 26 bones that are grouped as follows:
     7 cervical vertebrae in the neck
     12 thoracic vertebrae that articulate with the 12 pairs of ribs
     5 lumbar vertebrae of the lower back
     1 sacrum which is actually a fusion of 5 sacral vertebrae (fusion occurs from late teens to early 20's)
     1 coccyx or "tailbone" which is a fusion of 4 coccygeal vertebrae
 Intervertebral discs are located between adjacent vertebrae. These fibrocartilage discs form strong joints and absorb spinal compression shock.
 Various spinal disorders include:
     Herniated (slipped) disc - protrusion or rupture of an intervertebral disc
     Scoliosis - exaggerated lateral bending of spinal column
     Kyphosis - "hunchback" exaggerated thoracic curvature
     Lordosis - "swayback" exaggerated lumbar curvature
     Spina bifida - congenital defect with incomplete closure of the vertebral column
 Epidural anesthesia, often used in obstetrics, is injected into the sacrum at the sacral hiatus.
 In a lumbar puncture ("spinal tap), spinal fluid is removed using a long needle inserted between L3-L4 or L4-L5.

Choose Any Vertebrae To Study...
Atlas (C1) Superior View
Atlas (C1) Inferior View

Axis (C2) Superior View
Axis (C2) Inferior View
Axis (C2) Lateral View

Cervical Vertebrae Overview

Thoracic Vertebra Superior View
Thoracic Vertebra Inferior View
Thoracic Vertebra Lateral View
Thoracic Vertebra Posterior View

Lumbar Vertebra Superior View
Lumbar Vertebra Inferior View
Lumbar Vertebra Lateral View

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