BIOC33H3 Study Guide - Umbar, Suprascapular Notch, Sternal Angle
The Spinal Column is also called the vertebral column. The bones in the spine are called
vertebrae (ver-ta-bray). The column starts at the base of the skull and continues to the
pelvis. Alternate layers of bone (vertebrae) and cartilage (car-til-ledge, the intervertebral
discs) stack vertically one on top of the other in the spinal column. The lattice-like structure
of the cancellous bone (cancel-lus, the spongy interior) in a vertebra absorbs external
There are 12 vertebrae in the thoracic spine. They are labeled T1 through T12; the T stands
for thoracic. You have more vertebrae in your thoracic spine than you do in any other spinal
region. (The cervical spine—the neck—has 7 vertebrae, and the lumbar spine—the low back
—has 5 vertebrae. There's also the sacrum and coccyx, which are 5 fused vertebrae and
your tailbone.) The thoracic spine extends from your shoulders to your waist.
The thoracic spine is located in the chest area and contains 12 vertebrae. The ribs connect
to the thoracic spine and protect many vital organs.
Next is the lumbar spine. Most people have five lumbar vertebrae although it is not
unusual to have six. The lumbar vertebrae are larger than the cervical or thoracic as this
spinal region carries most of the body's weight. The sacrum and coccyx are uniquely shaped.