Development and functional anatomy of the spine

Alan Rawls, Rebecca E Fisher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The vertebral column is composed of alternating vertebrae and intervertebral (IV) discs supported by robust spinal ligaments and muscles. All of these elements, bony, cartilaginous, ligamentous, and muscular, are essential to the structural integrity of the spine. The spine serves three vital functions: protecting the spinal cord and spinal nerves, transmitting the weight of the body, and providing a flexible axis for movements of the head and the torso. The vertebral column is capable of extension, flexion, lateral flexion (side to side), and rotation. However, the degree to which the spine is capable of these movements varies by region. These regions, including the cervical, the thoracic, the lumbar, and the sacrococcygeal spine, form four curvatures (Fig. 2.1). The thoracic and the sacrococcygeal curvatures are established in fetal development, while the cervical and the thoracic curvatures develop during infancy. The cervical curvature arises in response to holding the head upright, while the lumbar curvature develops as an infant begins to sit upright and walk. Congenital defects and degenerative diseases can result in exaggerated, abnormal curvatures. The most common of these include a thoracic kyphosis (or hunchback deformity), a lumbar lordosis (or swayback deformity), and scoliosis. Scoliosis involves a lateral curvature of greater than 10°, often accompanied by a rotational defect. To appreciate the potential underlying causes of scoliosis, we need to understand the cellular and genetic basis of vertebral column and skeletal muscle development from somites. In this chapter, we will review the embryonic development of the spine and associated muscles and link them to the functional anatomy of these structures in the adult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Genetics and Development of Scoliosis
PublisherSpringer New York
Pages21-46
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781441914064, 9781441914057
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Muscle
Anatomy
Spine
Defects
Ligaments
Scoliosis
Structural integrity
Thorax
Swayback
Torso
Muscles
Spinal Nerves
Lordosis
Somites
Head Movements
Kyphosis
Muscle Development
Intervertebral Disc
Fetal Development
Embryonic Development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Rawls, A., & Fisher, R. E. (2010). Development and functional anatomy of the spine. In The Genetics and Development of Scoliosis (pp. 21-46). Springer New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1406-4_2

Development and functional anatomy of the spine. / Rawls, Alan; Fisher, Rebecca E.

The Genetics and Development of Scoliosis. Springer New York, 2010. p. 21-46.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Rawls, A & Fisher, RE 2010, Development and functional anatomy of the spine. in The Genetics and Development of Scoliosis. Springer New York, pp. 21-46. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1406-4_2
Rawls A, Fisher RE. Development and functional anatomy of the spine. In The Genetics and Development of Scoliosis. Springer New York. 2010. p. 21-46 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1406-4_2
Rawls, Alan ; Fisher, Rebecca E. / Development and functional anatomy of the spine. The Genetics and Development of Scoliosis. Springer New York, 2010. pp. 21-46
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