Intervertebral Ligaments

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Chapter: Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals: Support and Movement: Articulations

The vertebrae are bound together and stabilized by many ligaments attached to their bodies.


Intervertebral Ligaments

The vertebrae are bound together and stabilized by many ligaments attached to their bodies. The intervertebral ligaments are:

The anterior longitudinal ligament: Connecting anterior surfaces of adjacent vertebral bodies

The posterior longitudinal ligament: Connecting posterior surfaces of adjacent vertebral bodies

The ligamentum flavum: Connecting the laminae of adjacent vertebrae

The interspinous ligament: Connecting the spinous processes of adjacent vertebrae

The supraspinous ligament: Interconnecting the tips of spinous processes from C7 to the sacrum

The ligamentum nuchae extends from C7 to the base of the skull. It is continuous with the supraspi-nous ligament. With aging, the posterior longitudinal ligaments are often weakened. The nucleus pulposus, becoming compressed, may distort the annulus fibro-sus to force it partially into the vertebral canal, which is known as a slipped disc. Although the disc does not really “slip,” in more severe cases the nucleus pulpo-sus may break through the annulus fibrosus and also protrude into the vertebral canal, which is known as a herniated disc. Sensory nerves are then distorted by the mass, which may also compress nerves passing through the nearby intervertebral foramen. The inter-vertebral joints of the vertebral column can flex (bend anteriorly), extend (bend posteriorly), flex laterally (bend laterally), or rotate.

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