Medical: Corpus vertebra

  • Vertebral bodies
  • Columna vertebralis
  • Cervical vertebrae
  • Thoracic vertebrae
  • Lumbar vertebrae
  • Cross vertebrae
  • Tail vertebrae
  • Vertebral arch
  • Atlas
  • Axis


The human spine consists of the vertebrae and the intervertebral disc between them.
Humans generally have between 32 - 34 vertebrae / vertebral bodies, in most cases 33.
These vertebral bodies are divided into:

  • 7 Cervical vertebrae (Vertebrae cervicales)
  • 12 Thoracic vertebrae (Vertebrae thoracicae)
  • 5 Lumbar vertebrae (Vertebrae lumbales)
  • 5 Cross vertebrae (Vertebrae sacrales)
  • 4 Tail vertebrae (Vertebrae coccygeae)

Read more about this at: Vertebral bodies.

The vortex of the Cervical spine, of the Thoracic spine (ESPE) and the Lumbar spine (Lumbar spine) stay mobile.
The cross and tail vertebrae merge with the exclusion of growth Sacrum (Os sacrum) and to the coccyx (Os coccygis). The first and second cervical vertebrae occupy a special position and are called Atlas and Axis designated.

The whirl expand

  • a vertebral body
  • a vertebral arch
  • a spinous process
  • two transverse processes
  • four articular processes
  • a vertebral hole
  • and two intervertebral holes.

Illustration of a vortex

Figure three typical vertebrae seen from above

A - Fifth cervical vertebra (red)
B - sixth thoracic vertebra (green)
C - third lumbar vertebra (blue)

  1. Vertebral bodies - Corpus vertebrae
  2. Vortex hole - Vertebral foramen
  3. Spinous process
    (mostly in cervical vertebrae
    divided into two) -
    Spinous process
  4. Transverse process -
    Transverse process
  5. Articular surface for the rib -
    Fovea costalis processus
  6. Upper articular process -
    Superior articular process
  7. Vertebral arch - Arcus vertebrae
  8. Articular surface for the rib
    on the vertebral body -
    Fovea costalis superior
  9. Rib-transverse process joint -
    Articulatio costotransversaria
  10. Rib - Costa
  11. Rib head joint -
    Articulatio capitis costae
  12. Transverse process hole
    (only for cervical vertebrae) -
    Foramen transversarium
  13. Transverse process of the lumbar vertebra
    ("Costal process") -
    Costiform process

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

The vertebra (corpus vertebrae) consists of a hard bone layer (cover plate and base plate) and a soft interior (cancellous bone). The vertebral bodies are the load bearers of the upper body and transfer the force to the pelvis and legs.

The vertebral arch (arcus vertebralis) surrounds the spinal cord behind the vertebral bodies and offers it protection.

The spinous process (Procesus spinosus) attaches to the posterior part of the vertebral arch and is easy to feel. Each vertebra has a spinous process. It acts as a lever for the muscles to move the spine. The largest spinous process is found on the 7th cervical vertebra, it is called vertebra prominens.

The transverse processes (Processi transversi) also serve as muscle attachment points for lateral movements of the spine. In the thoracic spine area, the ribs attach to the transverse processes and form the costal vertebral joints.

The articular processes (processi articulari) connect the various vertebrae with one another. Two articular processes are connected to the one above and two to the one below (= vertebral joints).

The vertebral hole (forms vertebralis) is enclosed by the vertebral arch. The spinal cord runs in it. The vertebral holes of the various vertebrae form the vertebral canal (Canalis vertebralis).

The two intervertebral holes (foramina intervertebralia) serve as exit points for the nerves, which leave the spinal cord for each vertebra.

The spinal column is stabilized by the spinal ligaments.
The most important of these is the ligamentum flavum (inter-arch ligament), which spans the side of the vertebral arches. It has a yellowish appearance and consists of elastic fibers. With its tension, it helps the spine to return to its normal state.

CT image of the spine

  1. Vertebral bodies
  2. Transverse process
  3. Articular process / vertebral joint
  4. Spinous process
  5. Vertebral hole

Cervical vertebrae

The Cervical spine is part of the human spine. It represents the connection between the head and the rest of the spine.
There are a total of 7 different ones whirllying on top of each other. The first and second vertebrae play a prominent role.
Of the first eddy is called Atlas, of the second vertebra as Axis designated. The bony skull comes to rest on the atlas.
The cervical spine is the thinnest part of the spinal column that adjoins it. Furthermore, it is also considered the most sensitive section, which is always at risk in the event of accidents (trauma). There are only a few differences in structure in the vertebrae that adjoin below the first and second vertebra.

The general structure of the Cervical vertebrae is such that first of all there is the actual vertebra, which is also known as the corpus vertebrae.
This bone continues to the rear as a vertebral arch (arcus vertebrae). This vertebral arch is divided into an anterior and posterior part. At the transition between the two parts, a small bony protrusion can be anatomically shown, which is called the superior articular process upwards and the inferior articular process downwards.
The articular processes are the carriers of the articular surface, the part of the vertebral body on which the corresponding movements are carried out.
Of the whirl of each cervical vertebra ends back in one Spinous process, a bony pike-like protrusion. This is also called Spinous process designated.
In the third to sixth cervical vertebrae this projection is divided into two parts, with the others it is only one-sided. There is a relatively large opening between the vertebral arches and vertebral bodies. This is of a larger diameter in the cervical vertebrae than in the other vertebral bodies of the spine (Vertebral foramen). The vital nerve pathways lead through this opening. There is a on the side of each vertebra Transverse process, which is also called Transverse process referred to as.

Mainly bending movements of the head forwards and backwards as well as a turning movement to the left and right are possible in the joints of the cervical spine.
Numerous mixed movements, such as those that come about when turning the head, can also be performed in the cervical spine. The movements of the cervical spine take place through the numerous muscles that accompany the spine (autochthonous muscles and short spinal muscles).
Sprains in the cervical spine can quickly occur. This happens especially with fast and jerky movements.
Usually it is a dislocation of the vertebra.
After accidents and fractures of the cervical vertebrae occur in many cases irreversible paraplegia on.

Thoracic vertebrae

The Thoracic spine sets the Cervical spine downwards. it consists of 12 vertebrae, which are similar in structure to the cervical vertebrae, but in their structure to Eddy much more massive are
A main reason for this is that the thoracic spine has to carry a much greater mass than the cervical spine.
The thoracic spine also has a significant influence on the statics of people and is responsible for the ability to walk upright. The thoracic vertebrae also consist of a vertebral body, which consists of a partially ossified so-called compact plate.
At the back of the vertebrae there are small holes that act as the exit from vital blood vessels serve. Mainly the vena and the basivertebralis artery.
The side own the Thoracic vertebrae a small bony protrusion. In contrast to the cervical vertebrae, the Ribs on the vertebrae. They find a stable hold on the lateral extensions and pull forward in an arched manner, thus forming the Rib cage.
The thoracic vertebrae also have a spike-shaped bony protrusion running backwards, which is called Spinous process referred to as. These projections then have contact with the respective neighboring vertebral bodies and thus form a stable bony union.
Between each vertebral body there are two openings. On the one hand, as in the cervical vertebrae, there are openings which allow the spinal cord to be pulled through from top to bottom, and on the other hand there are also openings between the spinous processes which are open to the side.
The diameter of the vertebrae increases from the first to the twelfth thoracic vertebra, which can also be explained by the constantly increasing load to be carried and the static demands.
There is one between each thoracic vertebra Intervertebral disc Space. It is a cartilaginous plate that is required as a necessary separation between the vertebral bodies.
If the intervertebral disc were not there, it would bone on bone rub, which would lead to massive impairment of movement and pain.
At the disc prolapse part of the intervertebral disc protrudes between the two vertebral bodies, which can trigger these symptoms.
Herniated discs of the thoracic spine are rare, however. Most herniated discs are found in the lumbar spine, followed by the cervical spine.
In addition to its protective function, the intervertebral disc also has a "lubricating" function and prevents excessive friction effects in the movements that can be carried out in the thoracic spine.
The third task is the intervertebral discs shock-absorbing effects attributed, which are supposed to have a dampening effect on jumping movements.
In the thoracic spine, flexions can be performed forwards and backwards, but also movements to the side and so-called torsional movements.

Lumbar vertebrae

The Lumbar spine closes the Spine downwards.
The vertebral bodies are also called Vertebrae lumbales designated.
Compared to the previous vertebrae, they are even more massive, according to the increased body weight to be carried and the increased static demands.
The back-facing Processi spinosi (spinous processes) are flat and more closely related to the adjacent vertebral body. Also those going to the side Processi transversi can only be guessed at and more closely bonded to the neighboring vertebral structures.
In general, the vertebrae of the lumbar spine can be called plump. In total they consist of five Lumbar vertebrae.
This closes at the end of the lumbar vertebrae Sacrum at the end of the spine.
In the area of ​​the lumbar vertebrae is the so-called Cauda equina. These are nerve bundles that are in the Liquor (nerve fluid) swimming and extending the Backmarks represent. If for medical-diagnostic reasons a CSF puncture (lumbar puncture), one prefers to take this region, because here the danger of a Spinal cord injury is low.
During the lumbar puncture, one looks for the height of the bilateral pelvic blades and then looks for the vertebra at this height.
A needle is inserted into the palpable spinous process (position between two vertebral bodies).
The needle first breaks through a small resistance and reaches the area carrying liquor. A corresponding amount of brain water can then be drained and examined microbiologically. In higher parts of the lumbar spine, those described above occur Herniated discs occurs relatively often.
The main reason are the often incorrectly performed movements and Posture damagewhich manifest themselves in the upper part of the lumbar spine or the lower part of the thoracic spine and lead to discomfort. The deeper you get in the lumbar spine, the more awkward the vertebrae become.
While it is still possible at the transition from the thoracic spine to the lumbar spine, flexion movements forwards and backwards as well as turning movements to the side are increasingly impoverished.
The main reason is that decreasing "leeway“Between the vertebrae, which are increasingly baked.
The lower part of the lumbar spine only has a very low degree of movement or is completely rigid. This is the only way to ensure that the spine at the lowest point (end of the lumbar spine) can withstand the very strong pressure that is on it and that the entire spine builds up a corresponding statics.


The whirl educate the Spine and allow the trunk to move in all directions.
Rotational movements (twisting) come especially from the cervical spine. Bending and stretching is mainly made possible through the lumbar spine.

The vertebral arches protect the spinal cord from possible injury. About the Band washers shocks can be buffered.

Adjust vertebrae

The Adjusting a vertebra is intended to serve one in the intervertebral joints to bring the hooked vertebra back into position. This blockage can get through Pain or one restricted freedom of movement to make noticable.

Sometimes they help active turning and bending movementsto solve this blockage yourself. For example, you can lie down on a sports mat and slowly straighten up and roll off again, consciously trying to move forward vertebrae by vertebra. Also Rotational movements of the upper bodythat can be done while sitting, can help to release light blockages.

In other cases, the only way to achieve a reduction is through targeted application of light pressure or tension. This should definitely be done by a professional, such as a doctor or Physiotherapists, as incorrect adjustment can cause further problems such as tension.


Degenerative spinal syndrome

The wear and tear of the spine and its vertebrae can be demonstrated in practically every person from the age of 50 onwards. Nevertheless, these wear-related changes can remain symptom-free.
In many cases one finds arthrosis of the vertebral joints, changes in the vertebral bodies (osteochondrosis) and bone additions to the front and rear edges of the vertebral column
(Osteophytes = called spondylophytes on the spine).

Herniated discs

As the vertebral bodies wear out, the intervertebral discs also age, which can result in herniated discs.

Further information is available under our topic: Herniated discs

Osteoporosis / bone decalcification

In old age, bone decay (osteoporosis) increases. The consequence is an increased susceptibility to breakage of the vertebral bodies.
A vertebral body fracture can occur, especially after a fall. In most cases, these fractures heal if the vertebrae are misaligned.

Read more on this topic at: Decomposition of bones

Broken vertebra

A vortex can be created by many different mechanisms Broken become. One of the three most common is through to strong flexion or extension, by excessive compression of the spine from above and below, a so-called compression, or to the other through Rotation of the spine around its own axis.

A typical example of a heavy load the vortex is that car accident, in which enormous forces are generated by the body being thrown back and forth, especially in the Neck area, act on the vertebrae. Surrounding structures that serve to stabilize the spine, such as ligaments, can also be affected.

A special case is the osteoporosis in which the vertebrae collapse without great force.

As different as the mechanisms are, a vortex can be broken as differently. He can about be depressed, be completely blown up into several individual parts or to be split once. The broken vertebra can die move adjacent spine sections against each other.

Depending on the extent of the broken vertebra, either conservative treatment is used physiotherapy, Painkillers and Protection chosen, or at for example resulting neurological failures or Spinal instability a surgery considered.