150px-Spinal column curvature

T12 L5 C7

In human anatomy, the vertebral column (backbone or spine) is a column usually consisting of 24 vertebrae, the sacrum, intervertebral discs, and the coccyx situated in the dorsal aspect of the torso, separated by spinal discs. It houses the spinal cord in its spinal canal.

Names of individual vertebrae[]

Individual vertebrae named according to region and position, from superior to inferior

Cervical – 7 vertebrae (C1-C7)

  • C1 is known as "atlas" and supports the head, C2 is known as "axis"
  • Possesses bifid spinous processes, which is absent in C7
  • Small-bodied

Thoracic – 12 vertebrae (T1-T12)

  • Distinguished by the presence of costal facets for the articulation of the heads of ribs
  • Body is intermediate in size between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae

Lumbar – 5 vertebrae (L1-L5)

  • Has a large body
  • Does not have costal facets nor transverse process foramina

Sacral – 5 (fused) vertebrae (S1-S5) Coccygeal – 4 (3-5) (fused) vertebrae (Tailbone)