24 Movable Vertebrae
Human posture and mobility are dependent the 24 cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae that make the movement segments of our spinal column into a single functional unit.
In order to enable the movements of the spinal column, the 24 vertebrae elements of the neck, thoracic and lumbar spinal column must be connected with one another. These segments make joints out of two adjacent vertebral bones. Located anteriorly, i.e. towards the center of the body, is a part of the vertebra known as the vertebral body, which is connected by ligaments. Between the two vertebral bodies are the intervertebral discs, which are filled with jelly type substance. These discs dampen and separate the thick, round vertebrae bones from each other.
Posterior to spinal canal there are firmly connected bony protrusion of vertebrae known as the spinal processes. One can even feel the spinal processes by softly running two fingers along the back bone. Most clearly felt is the spinal process of the seventh cervical vertebrae. This vertebra juts so clearly out of the spinal column that it is the named Vertebra Prominens.
On both sides of the spinal process, branching from the vertebral body, are paired transverse processes with special tasks. For example, the branches in thoracic spinal column have a flexible connection with the ribs, which are connected to the vertebral body. The bulge of the lower vertebral process fits with the upper portion of vertebral arch , similar to head and pan of other body joints.
The entire movement segment is held together of ligaments, tendons and muscles. A distinct ligament network connects the vertebrae, others skip over the spinal disks of a vertebrae to the vertebra. The stopping ligaments stretch yet prevent overextended bending, which could damage the spinal column.