13 Components of the Human Spine


This article will cover one particular topic of interest: the 13 components of the human spine.

Consisting of 28 vertebrae, the spine plays an integral part in the human body. It is the center from which all movement begins. It supports the entire structure while the shapes of the bones in the spine lend themselves to a fluidity of movement in all directions.

Each vertebrae will have a shape that is obvious for the movement it supports and the connection of the other bones and muscles to it.

For better understanding, use an anatomy book, or physical skeleton replica to look at the shapes of each vertebra as you continue on in this article to learn about the 13 components and the 28 vertebrae of the spine.

  • 1. Atlas – The atlas bone supports head.
  • 2. Axis – The dens process forms a pivot for this axis.
  • 3. Seven Cervicals – Neck. All seven cervical vertebrae are considered to be the neck, they change shape slightly as they descend, to compliment and support the specific muscle attachments to them and the movement required in the area.
  • 4. Vertebrae Prominent – Prominent cervical vertebrae (7th). You can reach your hand back to the base of your neck and feef for the most prominent posterior process.
  • 5. Twelve Thoracic – All 12 thoracic vertebrae have demifacets, 2 inf. & 2 sup. Which articulate with each individual rib at a joint called the facets.
  • 6. Five Lumbar – Largest, lower spine, no rotation.
  • 7. Sacrum – Triangular bone, union of 5 sacral vertebrae.
  • 8. Coccyx – 4 small segments, represents tail.
  • 9. Disk – Intervertebral disk cushions between bodies of each vertebrae. “Slip disk” moves away from upper and lower vertebrae.
  • 10. Spinous process – Sticks out in back, no hyperextension in thoracic region because they bump each other.
  • 11. Superior and inferior articulating process – Form wedge to fit one inside other. In lumbar wedge stops rotation, gradually shifts in thoracic for free rotation
  • 12. Body – Main bony structure of the vertebrae, anterior.
  • 13. Vertebral Foramen – Neural canal.

Those are the 13 components of the human spine.

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