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  • Structure and Articulations of the Spinal Column

    Articulations of the Vertebral Bodies

    Ligamentous Reinforcement

    Articulations of the Vertebral Arches

    Atlanto-Occipital Articulation

    Atlantoaxial Articulation

  • Movements of the Spine as a Whole

    Individual Movements

    Summary of Spinal Movements

    Regional Classification of Spinal Movements

    Summary of Factors Influencing Stability and Mobility of the Spine

  • Muscles Operating the Spinal Column


    Characteristics and Functions of Individual Spinal Muscles

  • Muscular Analysis of the Fundamental Movements of the Head and Spine

    Cervical Spine and Atlanto-Occipital Joint

    Thoracic and Lumbar Spine

  • Structure and Articulations of the Thorax

  • Movements of the Thorax

    Phases of Respiration

  • Muscles of Respiration

    Characteristics of Individual Muscles with Primary Function in Respiration

    Characteristics of Individual Muscles with Secondary Function in Respiration

  • Muscular Analysis of Respiration



  • Common Injuries of the Neck, Back, and Thorax

    Neck Injuries


    Muscle and Ligament Injuries

    Vertebral Fracture

    Disc Problems

    Rib Fractures

    Low Back Pain

  • Laboratory Experiences


At the conclusion of this chapter, the student should be able to:

  1. Name, locate, and describe the structures and ligamentous reinforcements of the articulations of the spinal column and thorax.

  2. Name and demonstrate the movements possible in joints of the spinal column and thorax, regardless of starting position.

  3. Name and locate the muscles and muscle groups of the spinal column and thorax and name their primary actions as agonists, stabilizers, neutralizers, or antagonists.

  4. Analyze the fundamental movements of the spinal column and thorax with respect to joint and muscle actions.

  5. Describe the common injuries of the spinal column and thorax.

  6. Perform an anatomical analysis of the movements of the spinal column in a motor skill.

Structure and Articulations of the Spinal Column

If you were faced with the problem of devising a single mechanism that would simultaneously (1) give stability to a collapsible cylinder, (2) permit movement in all directions and yet always return to the fundamental starting position, (3) support three structures of considerable weight (a globe, a yoke, and a cage), (4) provide attachment for numerous flexible bands and elastic cords, (5) transmit a gradually increasing weight to a rigid basinlike foundation, (6) act as a shock absorber for cushioning jolts and jars, and (7) encase and protect a cord of extreme delicacy, you would be staggered by the immensity of the task. Yet the spinal column fulfills all these requirements with amazing efficiency. It is at the same time an organ of stability and mobility, of support and protection, and of resistance and adaptation. It is an instrument of great precision, yet of robust structure. Its architecture and the manner in which it performs its many functions are worthy of careful study. From the kinesiological point of view, we are interested in the spine chiefly as a mechanism for maintaining erect posture and for permitting movement of the head, neck, and trunk.

To understand these ...

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