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LIF101 Anatomy. Lecture 3: The Spine and Rib Cage. The Spine. A.K.A. vertebral column Curved column of 24 vertebrae Functions: Supports the trunk and head Surrounds and protects the spinal cord Four-arch curve 2 posterior curves 2 anterior curves. Precision of balance provided by:.

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LIF101 Anatomy

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Lif101 anatomy


Lecture 3:

The Spine and Rib Cage

The spine

The Spine

  • A.K.A. vertebral column

  • Curved column of 24 vertebrae

  • Functions:

    • Supports the trunk and head

    • Surrounds and protects the spinal cord

  • Four-arch curve

    • 2 posterior curves

    • 2 anterior curves

Precision of balance provided by

Precision of balance provided by:

  • Firm root in the pelvis

  • Variation of size and segments according to their loads

  • Ingenious 4 arch curve supports rib cage

Vertebra e


  • Bones that form the spinal column

  • Size and shape vary, depending on function and load

  • Three types of vertebrae

    • cervical (7)

    • thoracic (12)

    • lumbar (5)

    • Plus two more bones: the sacrum and coccyx

Sacrum is a spade shaped bone

Sacrum is a spade-shaped bone

  • Bends convexly backward

  • Wedged between two iliac bones of the pelvis

  • COCCYX (tail bone)

  • G. kokkux, cuckoo

  • Look for sacral triangle landmark

Know the parts of a vertebra

Know the Parts of a Vertebra

Body: the large

central mass which yields broad upper

and lower surfaces

for articulation with adjoining vertabrae.

  • Articulation = connection between bones

Vertabral foramen

Vertabral Foramen

  • Vertebral foramen

  • Foramen: an opening or passage – in this case,

  • Spinal cord passes through this opening

Articular processes engage in a mechanical locking operation

Articular processes engage in a mechanical locking operation

  • 2 transverse processesare deep and serve as muscularattachments

  • « Spinal gutters » contain long muscles of the spine

Prominent landmark

Prominent Landmark

  • One

  • Spinous Process

  • An important visual feature to notice while drawing

Lif101 anatomy

C-7 is quite prominent at the nape of the neck

Visible Spinous Processes

C 7 reaches to the surface to become a landmark

C-7 reaches to the surface to become a landmark


Intervertebral disks

Intervertebral disks

  • Disk-shaped pads of fibro-cartilage between vertebrae

  • Serve as cushions/shock absorbers for spine

  • Allow flexing, extension and some lateral movement

  • Flatten slightly throughout the day

  • No intervertebral disk between C1 and C2.

Cervical vertebrae

Cervical Vertebrae

  • Seven vertebrae of neck (cervical = “of the neck”)

  • Smallest, lightest vertebrae, with most flexible joints

  • Provide support and movement of head

  • C1 = atlas

  • C2 = axis

  • C7 = vertebra prominens

Atlas and axis are unique

Atlas and Axis are unique

  • The Atlas supports the skull. It is a ring of bone. It allows us to nod our head.

  • The Axis is a blunt tooth–like process that projects upward.

  • It has a ‘Dens’ (Latin for ‘tooth’) that provides a type of pivot and collar allowing the head and atlas to rotate around the dens.

Thoracic vertebrae

Thoracic Vertebrae

  • 12 total

  • Thoracic = “of the thorax”

  • Articulate with ribs

  • Thoracic vertebrae are considered part of the thorax

Lumbar vertebrae

Lumbar Vertebrae

  • 5 total

  • Lumbar region,

    a.k.a. “small” of back

  • Largest, thickest vertebrae;

    they support the most weight



  • 5 separate pieces in cartilagenous infant skeleton

  • Fuse to form one solid bone in adults

  • Forms posterior wall of pelvis

  • Sacral foramina



  • Sacrum of 14 to 16 month old baby

  • In children, it consists of usually five un-fused vertebrae which begin to fuse between ages 16–18 and are usually completely fused into a single bone by age 26.



  • A.K.A. tailbone

  • 4 separate bones in cartilagenous infant skeleton

  • Fuse to form 1 solid coccyx in adults

Rib cage

Rib Cage

  • A.K.A. thoracic cage

  • Includes thoracic vertebrae, ribs, sternum, costal cartilage

  • Protects contents of chest cavity and supports trunk muscles

  • Costosternal joints

  • Costovertebral joints

  • Thoracic arch

Costosternal joints

Costosternal Joints

  • Connect the ribs to the sternum

Thoracic arch

Thoracic Arch

Lif101 anatomy


  • 12 pairs of ribs

    • 7 true ribs

    • 5 false ribs (including 2 floating ribs)

  • Head of rib articulates with vertebra

  • Ribs move as a unit to accommodate breathing

  • Intercostal spaces =

    (spaces between ribs)

Lateral view of ribcage angle of thoracic arch 90 degrees in males 60 degrees in females

Lateral View of ribcage: angle of thoracic arch: 90 degrees in males; 60 degrees in females

False and floating ribs

False and Floating Ribs

  • False rib: One of the last 5 pairs of ribs. A rib is said to be "false" if it does not attach to the sternum (the breast bone).

  • All 12 pairs of ribs attach to the building blocks of the spine (vertebrae) in the back. The 12 pairs of ribs consist of:

  • True ribs: The first seven ribs attach to the sternum (the breast bone) in the front and are known as true (or sternal) ribs.

  • False ribs: The lower five ribs do not directly connect to the sternum and are known as false ribs.

  • The upper three false ribs connect to the costal cartilages of the ribs just above them. The last two (#11 and 12) are false ribs. They have no ventral attachment (no anchor at all in front) and are called floating ribs.



  • A.K.A. breastbone

  • Lies in anterior midline of thorax

  • Three parts:

    • Manubrium (L. handle)

    • Body

    • Xiphoid process (L. sword)

  • Surface landmarks

    • Jugular notch

    • Sternal angle (a.k.a. angle of Louis)



  • Broad, upper part of the sternum

  • Quadrangular shape, wider superiorly and narrower inferiorly

  • Articulates with the clavicles and the first two ribs.

Manubrialsternal joint

Manubrialsternal Joint

  • A ridge where the manubrium and the body of the sternum meet

  • Raised horizontal ridge located at the second rib joint

Xiphoid process

Xiphoid Process

  • Xiphoid means “sword-shaped”

  • May be bone or cartilage

  • Apex of thoracic arch

  • “Pit” of stomach, where heartburn often occurs

Peter paul rubens study of christ figure c 1600

Peter Paul Rubens, Study of Christ Figure, c.1600

Michelangelo youth beckoning c 1510

Michelangelo, “Youth Beckoning,” c. 1510

Pontormo contropposto studies about 1510

Pontormo, ControppostoStudies, about 1510

Lif101 anatomy

Xiphoid Process creates a small pit

Jugular notch

Jugular Notch

  • Fossa

Jugular notch1

Jugular Notch

  • Located on the


    Forms a “pit” in the


  • Erogenous zone

  • Vulnerable target for finger strikes in martial arts (Jiu-Jitsu).

Sternal angle

Sternal Angle

  • Known as the “Angle of Louis”

  • Sternum is

    (NOT a 90 degree angle)

  • Not perpendicular

    to the ground plane

  • Actually a slight diagonal:

    140 degrees

  • Lies between the Manubrium

    and the Xiphoid process

Review of surface landmarks

Review of Surface Landmarks

  • Spinous processes of vertebrae (especially C7)

  • Ribs (usually false ribs are more apparent.)

  • Thoracic arch

  • Location of xiphoid process (often appears as a pit.)

  • Jugular notch

  • Sternal angle (or Angle of Louis)



  • Reading:

    • Peck: Pages 22 – 33


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