Vertebrae

Custom Search

Human Body:

Human Body

Skeleton

Ankle

Arm

Bone Structure

Collar Bone or Clavicle

Elbow

Fingers and Nails

Foot

Hand

Hip

Joint Structure

Knee

Leg

Mandible

Pelvis

Radius and Ulna

Ribs

Sacrum

Shoulder Blade or Scapula

Skull

Spine

Sternum or Breast Bone

Vertebrae

Wrist

Human Body Videos

Science Videos


Science Main Index



 

Your spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. A single bone is called a vertebra. Of these bones, only 26 are individual bones. The remaining 9 vertebrae include 5 fused together in the sacrum, and 4 fused together in the coccyx. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs that provide separation and cushioning between the vertebrae. The vertebrae provide for muscle connection enabling movement of the spine, and allowing the spine to support the weight of the upper body. The vertebral column also provides protection for the spinal cord which carries nerves between the brain and the rest of the body. Read on to learn more about an individual vertebra.

On this page:

Vertebrae

Top of Page

Close Up of a Single Vertebrae - Top and Side View
Close Up of a Single Lumbar Vertebra - Top and Side View

The diagram to the right shows a typical vertebra. In this case, it is a lumbar vertebra. The main parts of a vertebra include the body, spinous process, transverse process, articular process, pedicles and laminae.

The body is the largest part of a vertebra, and is more or less cylindrical in shape with flat upper and lower surfaces. It is located at the front of the vertebra.

The pedicles are two short, thick processes that connect the body with the back part of the vertebra. The laminae are two broad plates that connect between the spinous and transverse processes. The two transverse processes project from each side of the vertebra from where the lamina meets the pedicle, and provides attachment of muscles and ligaments. The spinous process projects directly backward and downward from the laminae, and provides attachment of muscles and ligaments. There are two superior and two inferior articular processes that project upward and downward, respectively.

The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers providing separation and cushioning between the discs. Each disc is a cartilaginous joint allowing slight movement of the vertebrae, and acts as a ligament to hold the vertebrae together.

 

Books on the Vertebrae

Top of Page

   
   

 

Other links on the Vertebrae

Top of Page

   
 

Top of Page

 
Copyright © 1998-2012 Kidport