Few would argue that one of the most important components of the human body is a healthy spine, which supports the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. It is a segmental organ and consists of bony vertebrae, between which cartilage-like discs are located. This gives the spine flexibility and mobility, which is important for the normal functioning of the body. Today we will try to figure out what is the difference between the vertebrae of the cervical spine and the vertebrae of other parts of the spine.
The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae. Their shape and structure are mainly due to the fact that of all the sections, the cervical undergoes the least stress, so that, in comparison with the rest of the vertebrae, the bodies of the cervical vertebrae are narrower and smaller. Their vertebral foramen is large and resembles a triangle in shape; on the transverse processes there is an opening for the vertebral artery. The tip of the appendix has two tubercles, one anterior and the other posterior. The common carotid artery is pressed against the anterior tubercle, which gave it its name - the sleepy tubercle. Another distinctive feature of the cervical vertebrae is the short, bifurcated spinous processes, in addition to the protruding spinous process of the seventh vertebra. The articular processes of these vertebrae are short and slightly inclined, and the articular surfaces on them are flat.
Vertebrae of other parts of the spine
The human spine is divided into five sections: the cervical section, consisting of seven vertebrae; thoracic region, consisting of twelve vertebrae; lumbar region, consisting of five vertebrae; the sacral part, consisting of five vertebrae; the coccygeal part, consisting of 3-5 fused vertebrae. The anatomical features of each spine are determined by their function. For example, the lumbar vertebrae carry most of a person's body weight, making them the largest of all. The size of the vertebrae increases from the first to the fifth, by which the distribution of the load on the human body can be judged.
The transverse processes of the lumbar vertebra are the rudiments of the ribs, and at the base of these transverse processes one can notice the rudiment of the so-called true transverse processes, which have taken the shape of an awl. The vertebral foramen decrease starting from the fourth vertebra, which is due to the structure of the spinal cord. The ribs are semi-movably attached to the twelve thoracic vertebrae, and together with them and the sternum, they form the rib cage. The sacral spine consists of five fused bones, and has anterior (pelvic), posterior, lateral surfaces, base and apex of the sacrum, as well as a sacral canal through which the sacral nerves pass.
So, we found out that the cervical vertebrae differ from the vertebrae of other parts of the spine in their shape, they are much smaller and narrower than the rest. In addition, they have anterior and posterior tubercles, and the upper articular processes at the cervical vertebrae are directed upward and backward.
- The cervical vertebrae are much narrower and smaller in shape than the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae.
- The vertebral foramen at the cervical vertebra is shaped like a triangle, while at the thoracic vertebra it is rounded.
- The spinous processes of the cervical vertebrae (except for the seventh) are bifurcated and short, in the lumbar and thoracic regions they are larger and located horizontally.