The vertebral column (backbone
or spine) is a column of vertebrae situated in the dorsal
aspect of the torso. It houses the spinal cord in its spinal
Viewed laterally the vertebral column
presents several curves, which correspond to the different
regions of the column, and are called cervical, thoracic,
lumbar, and pelvic.
curve, convex forward, begins
at the apex of the odontoid (tooth-like) process,
and ends at the middle of the second thoracic
vertebra; it is the least marked of all the
curves. The thoracic
forward, begins at the middle of the second
and ends at the middle of the twelfth thoracic
vertebra. Its most prominent point behind corresponds
to the spinous process of the seventh thoracic
vertebra. This curve is known as a kyphotic
curve is more marked in
the female than in the male; it begins at
the middle of the last thoracic vertebra,
and ends at the sacrovertebral angle. It
is convex anteriorly, the convexity of the
lower three vertebrae being much greater
than that of the upper two. This curve is
described as a lordotic curve.
pelvic curve begins
at the sacrovertebral articulation,
and ends at the point of the
coccyx; its concavity is directed
downward and forward.
The thoracic and pelvic curves are termed primary
curves, because they alone are present during fetal life.
In the early embryo, the vertebral column is C-shaped, and the cervical
and lumbar curvatures are not yet present in a newborn infant. The cervical
and lumbar curves are compensatory or secondary, and are developed after
birth, the former when the child is able to hold up its head (at three
or four months), and to sit upright (at nine months), the latter at twelve
or eighteen months, when the child begins to walk.
The thoracic portion of the vertebral column also has a slight lateral
curvature, the convexity of which is directed toward the right side.
This may be produced by muscular action, most persons using the right
arm in preference to the left, especially in making long-continued efforts,
when the body is curved to the right side. In support of this explanation
it has been found that in one or two individuals who were left-handed,
the convexity was to the left side. This curvature is regarded by others
as being produced by the aortic arch and upper part of the descending
thoracic aorta – a view which is supported by the fact that in
cases of situs inversus where the viscera are transposed and the aorta
is on the right side, the convexity of the curve is directed to the left
regions (curvatures) of the vertebral column
and names of individual vertebrae.
The vertebral column seen from
Individual vertebrae named
according to region and position, from superior to inferior.
Thoracic – 12
|Cervical – 7
• C1 is
known as "atlas" and supports the
head, C2 is known as "axis"
bifid spinous processes, which is absent
A Larger Image
• Distinguished by the
presence of costal facets for the articulation of the heads
• Body is intermediate
in size between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae
Lumbar – 5
• Has a large body
• Does not have costal facets
nor transverse process foramina
Pelvic- Sacral – 5
(fused) vertebrae (S1-S5) & Coccygeal – 3-5
Oak Ridge office is conveniently located to serve those from
Summerfield, Stokesdale, Walnut Cove, Walkertown, Madison,
Mayodan, Reidsville, Greensboro, Wentworth, Belews Creek,
Belews Lake, Scalesville, Colfax,
Friendship, Bonanza Hills and surrounding areas.
Salama Chiropractic Oak Ridge
Nc Highway 68 N Ste. E
Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310
© 2010 Salama Chiropractic
Carolina (NC) Chiropractors - Greensboro & Winston