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Anatomical diagrams of the spine and back

Antoine Micheau - MD, Denis Hoa - MD

Published on Thursday 10 September 2009

SECTION: Anatomy of the spine and the spinal cord

Images and anatomical references

This human anatomy module is composed of diagrams, illustrations and 3D views of the back, cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal areas as well as the various vertebrae. It unites the osteology, arthrology and myology of the spine and back.

 

It is consequently of particular interest to physiotherapists, osteopaths, rheumatologists, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and general practitioners, especially for the study and understanding of diseases of the back and spine (lumbago, sciatica, herniated disc...).

 

Anatomy of  the vertebral lumbar column : vertebral body, pedicle, intervertebral disc, spinous process

Left view of the lumbar vertebral column (Illustration : A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

 

 

Anatomical diagrams of the spine and back

 

These diagrams and original illustrations were produced from 3D medical imaging reconstructions of the spine and back by Dr. Antoine Micheau. All the images are in vector format, allowing an optimal web display with zoom and shifting of the anatomical images.

 

 

3D Anatomy of a cervical vertebra (C4) (A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

3d-view of a cervical vertebra adapted from a CT scan

 

 

Chapters comprising this atlas of spinal anatomy

 

  • A general view of the spine with the various levels (cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal regions, sacrum and coccyx) as well as the physiological curvature of the spine (cervical and lumbar lordosis, thoracic and sacral kyphosis).

 

 

Anatomy of the vertebral column with cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis and sacral kyphosis

Vertebral column: Anterior view, Posterior view, Lateral view - 3D rendering

 

 

  • The bony structures of the cervical vertebrae (C1 to C7) as well as lateral views of anatomical and anterolateral cervical spine.
  • The thoracic vertebrae (T1 to T12) in top, bottom and lateral views.
  • The lumbar vertebrae (L5 L1A) with an anterolateral view showing the joints in two lumbar vertebrae and an illustration of the lateral lumbar spine surface.
  • The sacrum and coccyx, in lateral, superior, anterior and posterior views as well as sagittal and axial sections of the sacrum and coccyx.
  • A chapter on joints and ligaments of the spine, including atlanto-axial joints, costovertebral joints and the sacroiliac and sacro-coccygeal joints.

 

 

Human anatomy of the sacrum showing base, promontory, wing and apex of the sacrum, with coccyx and coccygeal vertebrae

Anterior view of the sacrum - 3D reconstruction

 

 

  • The myology of the spine and back unites several muscle groups:
    • The suboccipital muscles (splenius muscle, semispinalis muscles of the neck and head and interspinous neck muscles...)
    • The muscles of the back with the surface (trapezius, latissimus dorsi, thoracolumbar fascia, deltoid) and intermediate layers (serrated muscles, external and internal oblique muscle).
    • The back muscles proper with on the one hand an anatomical plate-type representation and on the other a schematic view of the origin and insertion of the proper muscles of the back (iliocostal muscle of the neck, lumbar (lumbar and thoracic parts), longissimus muscles of head, neck and thorax, the spinalis muscles of the neck and thorax, semispinalis muscle of the head, neck and thorax, lateral intertransverse muscles of the loins...)
    • A schematic view of the muscles of the back proper represents the multifidus muscles of the neck, chest and lower back and the rotator muscles of the neck, chest and loin. The short elevator muscles of the ribs and long elevator muscles of the ribs as well as the quadratus lumborum are also represented.
    • Finally a diagram summarises the insertion and origin of the transversal spinalis muscles (semispinalis, multifidus and rotator muscles).
    • NB: the nomenclature of the muscles of the spine varies greatly depending on the source, so we have scrupulously followed the Terminologia Anatomica.

 

 

Anatomy of the cervical column and cervical vertebrae, including atlas, axis and canal for vertebral artery

Anatomy of the cervical vertebral column (Illustration : A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

 

 

Anatomy diagram of the muscles of the back, inner and proper back, with suboccipital muscles, trapezius, rhomoid minor and major, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae...

Muscles of back and back proper (Illustration : A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

 

 

  • Finally different sections of the spine and adjacent structures are represented:
    • Cervical spine sections regarding the atlas (C1), the C4 and C7 vertebrae with paraspinal muscles, the muscles of the neck and back as well as the relationship with the jugulocarotid axis and the ENT structures
    • Anatomical sections of the dorsal vertebrae in relation to T4 and T12 vertebrae (costovertebral joints, muscles of the chest wall, arteries, veins and intercostal nerves...)
    • Anatomical section of the lumbar vertebra L4 with the psoas muscles in front, the different fascias, muscles of the abdominal wall.
    • Anatomical section of the sacrum and sacroiliac joints, with sacroiliac ligaments, bone structures, the termination of the thoracolumbar fascia, the sacral canal and hip muscles...

 

 

cross section anatomy of neck and vetebral column with transverse slice of cervical vertebra C4

Transverse section on C4 vertebra (Illustration : A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

 

Using this atlas of human anatomy dedicated to spine and back

 

The "anatomical structures" tab allows you to choose to display the various structures in colour illustrations of the anatomy of the back and spine: vertebrae, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, muscular system, fascia, arteries, veins, nerves and various adjacent organs.

 

costovertebral joints anatomy, vetebral column, radiate ligament of rib, superior transverse ligament, anatomycal, diagram, illustration , A. Micheau - MD

Diagram of costovertebral joints anatomy (A. Micheau, MD - E-anatomy - Imaios)

 

 

The "illustrations" tab is used to navigate between illustrations devoted to the osteology of the spine, the joints and ligament structures of the vertebrae and ribs, the myology of the back and spine and anatomical sections of the human body.

 

Terminology and languages

 

The nomenclature in osteology is relatively stable, but against it are enormous differences between the old French nomenclature, the new frenchified nomenclature and the Terminologia Anatomica. For example, the small muscles and large complexus, the epispinal muscles... etc., are no longer referred to in the same manner.


Anatomical parts

  • 'Intertransversarii laterales lumborum - Musculi intertransversarii laterales lumborum - Dorsal parts - Partes dorsales
  • Abdominal aorta - Aorta abdominalis
  • Accessory process - Processus accessorius
  • Ala; Wing of sacrum - Ala ossis sacri
  • Anatomical structures - Anatomical parts
  • Anterior - Anterior
  • Anterior arch - Arcus anterior atlantis
  • Anterior articular facet - Facies articularis anterior
  • Anterior atlantooccipital membrane - Membrana atlantooccipitalis anterior
  • Anterior longitudinal ligament - Ligamentum longitudinale anterius
  • Anterior rami; Ventral rami - Rami anteriores; Rami ventrales
  • Anterior sacral foramina - Foramina sacralia anteriora
  • Anterior sacroiliac ligament - Ligamentum sacroiliacum anterius
  • Anterior tubercle - Tuberculum anterius
  • Anular epiphysis - Epiphysis anularis
  • Anulus fibrosus - Anulus fibrosus
  • Apex - Apex dentis
  • Apex - Apex ossis sacri; Apex ossis sacralis
  • Apical ligament of dens - Ligamentum apicis dentis
  • Arteries - Arteriae
  • Articular facet - Facies articularis capitis costae
  • Articular facet - Facies articularis tuberculi costae
  • Atlantooccipital joint - Articulatio atlantooccipitalis
  • Atlas [C I] - Atlas [C I]
  • Auricular surface - Facies auricularis
  • Axial cross section - Axial cross section
  • Axis [C II] - Axis [C II]
  • Azygos vein - Vena azygos
  • Back to image index - Back to image index
  • Base of sacrum - Basis ossis sacri
  • Basilar part - Pars basilaris
  • Bones; Skeletal system - Ossa; Systema skeletale
  • Brachial plexus - Plexus brachialis
  • CI - CI
  • CVII - CVII
  • Canal for vertebral artery - Canalis arteriae vertebralis
  • Carotid tubercle - Tuberculum caroticum
  • Cauda equina - Cauda equina
  • Cavity of pharynx - Cavitas pharyngis
  • Cervical fascia - Fascia cervicalis; Fascia colli : Carotid sheath - Vagina carotica
  • Cervical fascia - Fascia cervicalis; Fascia colli : Investing layer; Superficial layer - Lamina superficialis
  • Cervical fascia - Fascia cervicalis; Fascia colli : Pretracheal layer - Lamina pretrachealis
  • Cervical lordosis - Lordosis cervicis; Lordosis colli
  • Cervical vertebrae [C I-C VII] - Vertebrae cervicales [C I-C VII]
  • Clivus - Clivus
  • Coccygeal cornu - Cornu coccygeum
  • Coccyx; coccygeal vertebrae [I-IV] - Os coccygis; Coccyx vertebrae coccygeae [I-IV]
  • Colon - Colon
  • Costal process - Processus costiformis; Processus costalis (Transverse process - Processus transversus)
  • Costotransverse foramen - Foramen - Foramen costotransversarium
  • Costotransverse joint - Articulatio costotransversaria
  • Costotransverse ligament - Ligamentum costotransversarium
  • Costovertebral joints - Articulationes costovertebrales
  • Cross sections - Cross sections
  • Cruciate ligament of atlas - Ligamentum cruciforme atlantis
  • Deep branch - Ramus profundus
  • Deep investing fascia - Fascia investiens profunda
  • Deep posterior sacrococcygeal ligament - Ligamentum sacrococcygeum posterius profundum; Ligamentum sacrococcygeum dorsale profundum
  • Deltoid - Musculus deltoideus
  • Dens - Dens axis
  • Diaphragm - Diaphragma
  • Dorsal surface - Facies dorsalis
  • Erector spinae - Musculus erector spinae
  • Erector spinae aponeurosis - Aponeurosis m. erectoris spinae
  • External carotid artery - Arteria carotis externa
  • External iliac artery - Arteria iliaca externa
  • External iliac vein - Vena iliaca externa
  • External intercostal muscle - Musculi intercostales externi
  • External jugular vein - Vena jugularis externa
  • External oblique - Musculus obliquus externus abdominis
  • Facet for dens - Fovea dentis
  • False ribs [VIII-XII] - Costae spuriae [VIII-XII]
  • Fascia - Fasciae
  • First rib [I] - Costa prima [I]
  • Floating ribs [XI-XII] - Costae fluctuantes [XI-XII]
  • Foramen - Foramen transversarium - Foramen - Foramen transversarium
  • Gluteal aponeurosis - Aponeurosis glutea
  • Gluteus maximus - Musculus gluteus maximus
  • Gluteus medius - Musculus gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus - Musculus gluteus minimus
  • Groove for spinal nerve - Sulcus nervi spinalis
  • Groove for vertebral artery - Sulcus arteriae vertebralis
  • Head - Caput costae
  • Hemiazygos vein; Inferior hemiazygos vein - Vena hemiazygos
  • Hip bone; Coxal bone; Pelvic bone - Os coxae
  • Hyoid bone - Os hyoideum
  • Iliacus - Musculus iliacus
  • Iliocostalis cervicis - Musculus iliocostalis cervicis; Musculus iliocostalis colli
  • Iliocostalis lumborum - Musculus iliocostalis lumborum
  • Iliocostalis lumborum - Musculus iliocostalis lumborum : Lumbar part; Lateral division of lumbar erector spinae - Pars lumbalis; Divisio lateralis m. erectoris spinae lumborum
  • Iliocostalis lumborum - Musculus iliocostalis lumborum : Thoracic part - Pars thoracica
  • Iliopsoas fascia; Fascia iliaca - Fascia iliopsoas; Fascia iliaca
  • Illustrations - Illustrations
  • Illustrations - Illustrations: A. Micheau - MD - Illustrations - Illustrations: A. Micheau - MD
  • Inferior - Inferior
  • Inferior articular facet - Facies articularis inferior
  • Inferior articular process - Processus articularis inferior; Zygapophysis inferior
  • Inferior articular surface - Facies articularis inferior
  • Inferior costal facet - Fovea costalis inferior
  • Inferior gluteal nerve - Nervus gluteus inferior
  • Inferior vena cava - Vena cava inferior
  • Inferior vertebral notch - Incisura vertebralis inferior
  • Infraspinatus - Musculus infraspinatus
  • Infraspinous fascia - Fascia infraspinata
  • Innermost intercostal muscle - Musculi intercostales intimi
  • Intercostal nerves; Anterior rami; Ventral rami - Nervi intercostales; Rami anteriores; Rami ventrales
  • Intermediate sacral crest - Crista sacralis medialis
  • Internal carotid artery - Arteria carotis interna
  • Internal iliac artery - Arteria iliaca interna
  • Internal iliac vein - Vena iliaca interna
  • Internal intercostal muscle - Musculi intercostales interni
  • Internal jugular vein - Vena jugularis interna
  • Internal oblique - Musculus obliquus internus abdominis
  • Interosseous sacroiliac ligament - Ligamentum sacroiliacum interosseum
  • Interspinales cervicis - Musculi interspinales cervicis; Musculi interspinales colli
  • Interspinales lumborum - Musculi interspinales lumborum
  • Interspinales thoracis - Musculi interspinales thoracis
  • Interspinous ligaments - Ligamenta interspinalia
  • Intertransverse ligaments - Ligamenta intertransversaria
  • Intervertebral disc - Discus intervertebralis
  • Intervertebral foramen - Foramen - Foramen intervertebrale
  • Intervertebral foramina - Foramina intervertebralia
  • Intervertebral surface - Facies intervertebralis
  • Intraarticular ligament of head of rib - Ligamentum capitis costae intraarticulare
  • Investing abdominal fascia - Fascia investiens abdominis
  • Jejunum - Jejunum
  • Joint - Junctura
  • Joint capsule; Articular capsule - Capsula articularis
  • Joint of head of rib - Articulatio capitis costae
  • LI - LI
  • LV - LV
  • Lamina - Lamina arcus vertebrae
  • Lateral - Lateralis
  • Lateral atlantoaxial joint - Articulatio atlantoaxialis lateralis
  • Lateral costotransverse ligament - Ligamentum costotransversarium laterale
  • Lateral mass - Massa lateralis atlantis
  • Lateral part - Pars lateralis
  • Lateral posterior cervical intertransversarii - Musculi intertransversarii posteriores laterales cervicis; Musculi intertransversarii posteriores laterales colli
  • Lateral sacral crest - Crista sacralis lateralis
  • Lateral sacrococcygeal ligament - Ligamentum sacrococcygeum laterale
  • Latissimus dorsi - Musculus latissimus dorsi
  • Left common carotid artery - Arteria carotis communis
  • Left lung - Pulmo sinister
  • Left suprarenal gland - Glandula suprarenalis
  • Levator scapulae - Musculus levator scapulae
  • Levatores costarum breves - Musculi levatores costarum breves
  • Levatores costarum longi - Musculi levatores costarum longi
  • Ligamenta flava - Ligamenta flava
  • Ligaments - Ligamenta
  • Ligg. alaria - Alar ligaments
  • Liver - Hepar
  • Longissimus capitis - Musculus longissimus capitis
  • Longissimus cervicis - Musculus longissimus cervicis; Musculus longissimus colli
  • Longissimus thoracis - Musculus longissimus thoracis
  • Longitudinal bands - Fasciculi longitudinales
  • Longus capitis - Musculus longus capitis
  • Longus colli - Musculus longus colli; Musculus longus cervicis
  • Lumbar lordosis - Lordosis lumbalis
  • Lumbar vertebrae [LI-LV] - Vertebrae lumbales [LI-LV]
  • Lumbocostal ligament - Ligamentum lumbocostale
  • Lumbosacral joint - Articulatio lumbosacralis
  • Mammillary process - Processus mammillaris
  • Median atlantoaxial joint - Articulatio atlantoaxialis mediana
  • Median sacral artery - Arteria sacralis mediana
  • Median sacral crest - Crista sacralis mediana
  • Median sacral vein - Vena sacralis mediana
  • Multifidus - Musculi multifidi
  • Multifidus cervicis - Musculus multifidus cervicis; Musculus multifidus colli
  • Multifidus lumborum - Musculus multifidus lumborum
  • Multifidus thoracis - Musculus multifidus thoracis
  • Muscles of back - Musculi dorsi
  • Muscles of back proper - Musculi dorsi proprii
  • Muscles; Muscular system - Musculi; Systema musculare
  • Neck - Collum costae
  • Nerves - Nerves
  • Nuchal fascia - Fascia nuchae
  • Nuchal ligament - Ligamentum nuchae
  • Nucleus pulposus - Nucleus pulposus
  • Obliquus capitis inferior - Musculus obliquus capitis inferior
  • Obliquus capitis superior - Musculus obliquus capitis superior
  • Oesophagus - Oesophagus
  • Organs - Organs
  • Ostium primum - Ren; Nephros
  • Parotid gland - Glandula parotidea
  • Pedicle - Pediculus arcus vertebrae
  • Pelvic surface - Facies pelvica
  • Platysma - Platysma
  • Posterior - Posterior
  • Posterior arch - Arcus posterior atlantis
  • Posterior articular facet - Facies articularis posterior
  • Posterior atlantooccipital membrane - Membrana atlantooccipitalis posterior
  • Posterior intercostal arteries - Arteriae intercostales posteriores
  • Posterior intercostal veins - Venae intercostales posteriores
  • Posterior longitudinal ligament - Ligamentum longitudinale posterius
  • Posterior rami; Dorsal rami - Rami posteriores; Rami dorsales
  • Posterior sacral foramina - Foramina sacralia posteriora
  • Posterior sacroiliac ligament - Ligamentum sacroiliacum posterius
  • Posterior tubercle - Tuberculum posterius
  • Promontory - Promontorium
  • Psoas major - Musculus psoas major
  • Quadratus lumborum - Musculus quadratus lumborum
  • Radiate ligament of head of rib - Ligamentum capitis costae radiatum
  • Rectus capitis posterior major - Musculus rectus capitis posterior major
  • Rectus capitis posterior minor - Musculus rectus capitis posterior minor
  • Rhomboid major - Musculus rhomboideus major
  • Rhomboid minor - Musculus rhomboideus minor
  • Rib - Costa
  • Right lung - Pulmo dexter
  • Right suprarenal gland - Glandula suprarenalis
  • Rigth common carotid artery - Arteria carotis communis
  • Rotatores - Musculi rotatores
  • Rotatores cervicis - Musculi rotatores cervicis; Musculi rotatores colli
  • Rotatores lumborum muscles - Musculi rotatores lumborum
  • Rotatores thoracis - Musculi rotatores thoracis
  • SI - SI
  • SV - SV
  • Sacral canal - Canalis sacralis
  • Sacral hiatus - Hiatus sacralis
  • Sacral horn - Cornu sacrale
  • Sacral kyphosis - Kyphosis sacralis
  • Sacral tuberosity - Tuberositas ossis sacri
  • Sacrococcygeal joint - Articulatio sacrococcygea
  • Sacrospinous ligament - Ligamentum sacrospinale
  • Sacrotuberous ligament - Ligamentum sacrotuberale
  • Sacrum [sacral vertebrae I - V] - Os sacrum [vertebrae sacrales I - V]
  • Sagittal - Sagittalis
  • Scalenus anterior; Anterior scalene - Musculus scalenus anterior
  • Scalenus medius; Middle scalene - Musculus scalenus medius
  • Scalenus posterior; Posterior scalene - Musculus scalenus posterior
  • Scapula - Scapula
  • Semispinalis - Musculus semispinalis
  • Semispinalis capitis - Musculus semispinalis capitis
  • Semispinalis cervicis - Musculus semispinalis cervicis; Musculus semispinalis colli
  • Semispinalis thoracis - Musculus semispinalis thoracis
  • Serratus anterior - Musculus serratus anterior
  • Serratus posterior inferior - Musculus serratus posterior inferior
  • Serratus posterior superior - Musculus serratus posterior superior
  • Sigmoid colon - Colon sigmoideum
  • Spinal cord - Medulla spinalis
  • Spinal nerves - Nervi spinales
  • Spinalis cervicis - Musculus spinalis cervicis; Musculus spinalis colli
  • Spinalis thoracis - Musculus spinalis thoracis
  • Spinous process - Processus spinosus
  • Spleen - Splen; Lien
  • Splenius capitis - Musculus splenius capitis
  • Splenius cervicis - Musculus splenius cervicis; Musculus splenius colli
  • Sternocleidomastoid - Musculus sternocleidomastoideus
  • Stomach - Gaster
  • Suboccipital muscles - Musculi suboccipitales
  • Subscapularis - Musculus subscapularis
  • Superficial posterior sacrococcygeal ligament - Ligamentum sacrococcygeum posterius superficiale; Ligamentum sacrococcygeum dorsale superficiale
  • Superior - Superior
  • Superior articular facet - Facies articularis superior
  • Superior articular process - Processus articularis superior
  • Superior articular process - Processus articularis superior; Zygapophysis superior
  • Superior articular surface - Facies articularis superior
  • Superior costal facet - Fovea costalis superior
  • Superior costotransverse ligament - Ligamentum costotransversarium superius
  • Superior gluteal artery - Arteria glutea superior
  • Superior gluteal nerve - Nervus gluteus superior
  • Superior gluteal vein - Vena gluteae superiore
  • Superior vertebral notch - Incisura vertebralis superior
  • Supraspinous ligament - Ligamentum supraspinale
  • Sympathetic trunk - Truncus sympathicus
  • TI - TI
  • TXII - TXII
  • Tectorial membrane - Membrana tectoria
  • Thoracic aorta - Pars thoracica aortae; Aorta thoracica
  • Thoracic duct - Ductus thoracicus
  • Thoracic kyphosis - Kyphosis thoracica
  • Thoracic vertebrae (TI-TXII) - Vertebrae thoracicae (TI-TXII)
  • Thoracolumbar fascia - Fascia thoracolumbalis
  • Thoracolumbar fascia - Fascia thoracolumbalis - Anterior layer; Quadratus lumborum fascia - Lamina anterior; Lamina profunda; Fascia musculi quadrati lumborum
  • Thoracolumbar fascia - Fascia thoracolumbalis - Middle layer - Lamina media
  • Thoracolumbar fascia - Fascia thoracolumbalis - Posterior layer - Lamina posterior; Lamina superficialis
  • Thyroid gland - Glandula thyroidea
  • Trachea - Trachea
  • Transversalis fascia - Fascia transversalis
  • Transverse costal facet - Fovea costalis processus transversi
  • Transverse ligament of atlas - Ligamentum transversum atlantis
  • Transverse process - Processus transversus
  • Transverse ridges - Lineae transversae
  • Transversospinales - Musculi transversospinales
  • Transversus abdominis; Transverse abdominal - Musculus transversus abdominis
  • Trapezius - Musculus trapezius
  • Trapezius - Musculus trapezius - Ascending part; Inferior part - Pars ascendens
  • Trapezius - Musculus trapezius - Descending part; Superior part - Pars descendens
  • Trapezius - Musculus trapezius - Transverse part; Middle part - Pars transversa
  • True ribs [I-VII] - Costae verae [I-VII]
  • Tubercle - Tuberculum costae
  • Uncus of body; Uncinate process - Uncus corporis; Processus uncinatus
  • Ureter - Ureter
  • Vagus nerve [X] - Nervus vagus [X]
  • Veins - Venae
  • Vertebra CIV - Vertebra CIV
  • Vertebra CVII - Vertebra CVII
  • Vertebra LIII - Vertebra LIII
  • Vertebra LIV - Vertebra LIV
  • Vertebra TIV - Vertebra TIV
  • Vertebra TVI - Vertebra TVI
  • Vertebra TXII - Vertebra TXII
  • Vertebra prominens [C VII] - Vertebra prominens [C VII]
  • Vertebrae - Vertebrae
  • Vertebral arch - Arcus vertebrae
  • Vertebral artery - Arteria vertebralis
  • Vertebral body - Corpus vertebrae
  • Vertebral canal - Canalis vertebralis
  • Vertebral column - Columna vertebralis
  • Vertebral foramen - Foramen - Foramen vertebrale
  • Vertebral joints - Juncturae columnae vertebralis
  • Vertebral vein - Vena vertebralis
  • Zygapophysial joints - Articulationes zygapophysiales

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