Vertebral column
The 33 vertebrae fit together to form a flexible, yet extraordinarily tough, column that serves to support the back through a full range of motion. It also protects the spinal cord, which runs from the brain through the hollow space in the middle of the vertebral column. There are seven cervical (C1-C7), 12 thoracic (T1-T12), five lumbar (L1-L5), five sacral (S1- S5),and four coccygeal vertebrae in this column, each separated by intervertebral disks. The first cervical vertebra, known as the atlas, supports the head. It pivots on the odontoid process of the second cervical vertebra, the axis. The cervical vertebrae end at their juncture with the thoracic vertebrae. The seventh cervical vertebra (the prominent vertebra, so named because of its long spiny projection) adjoins the first thoracic vertebrae. The thoracic vertebrae provide an attachment site for the true ribs, and make up part of the back of the chest (thorax). This part of the spine is very flexible to permit bending and twisting. The thoracic vertebrae join the lumbar vertebrae, which are particularly study and large, as they support the entire structure. The lumbar vertebrae are nonetheless quite flexible. At the top of the pelvis, the lumbar vertebrae join the sacral vertebrae. By adulthood these five bones have usually fused to form a triangular bone called the sacrum. At the tip of the sacrum, the final part of the vertebral column projects slightly outward. This is the coccyx, better known as the tailbone. It is made up of three to five coccygeal vertebrae: small, rudimentary vertebrae that fuse together.

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vertebral column n SPINAL COLUMN

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columna vertebralis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • vertebral column — or spinal column or spine or backbone Flexible column extending the length of the torso. In humans, it consists of 32–34 vertebrae, with different shapes and functions in each of five regions: 7 cervical, in the neck (including the atlas and axis …   Universalium

  • Vertebral column — For other uses, see Human vertebral column. Vertebral column The vertebral column is a bony structure found in Vertebrates. It is formed from the vertebrae. References …   Wikipedia

  • vertebral column — UK [ˌvɜː(r)təbrəl ˈkɒləm] / US [ˌvɜrtəbrəl ˈkɑləm] noun [countable] Word forms vertebral column : singular vertebral column plural vertebral columns medical the main bone structure down your back that forms your spine …   English dictionary

  • vertebral column — The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The vertebral column encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called spine, backbone, and spinal column …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • vertebral column — noun the series of vertebrae forming the axis of the skeleton and protecting the spinal cord (Freq. 1) the fall broke his back • Syn: ↑spinal column, ↑spine, ↑backbone, ↑back, ↑rachis • Derivationally related f …   Useful english dictionary

  • vertebral column — noun The series of vertebrae that protect the spinal cord; the spinal column. Syn: spinal column …   Wiktionary

  • vertebral column — noun Date: 1822 spinal column …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • vertebral column. — See spinal column. [1815 25] * * * …   Universalium

  • vertebral column — spinal column, spine, backbone …   English contemporary dictionary

  • vertebral column — /vɜtəbrəl ˈkɒləm/ (say vertuhbruhl koluhm) noun → spinal column …   Australian English dictionary

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