Biomechanics of the Spine

Ferguson, Stephen John (2008). Biomechanics of the Spine. In: Boos, Norbert; Aebi, Max (eds.) Spinal Disorders: Fundamentals of Diagnosis and Treatment (pp. 41-66). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag 10.1007/978-3-540-69091-7_2

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The human spinal column is a complex structure composed of 24 individual vertebrae plus the sacrum. The principal functions of the spine are to protect the spinal cord, to provide mobility to the trunk and to transfer loads from the head and trunk to the pelvis. By nature of a natural sagittal curvature and the relatively flexible intervertebral discs interposed between semi-rigid vertebrae, the spinal column is a compliant structure which can filter out shock and vibrations before they reach the brain. The intrinsic, passive stability of the spine is provided by the discs and surrounding ligamentous structures, and supplemented by the actions of the spinal muscles. The seven intervertebral ligaments which span each pair of adjacent vertebrae and the two synovial joints on each vertebra (facets or zygapophyseal joints) allow controlled, fully three-dimensional motion.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Ferguson, Stephen John


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Verlag




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:06

Last Modified:

30 Jul 2018 14:50

Publisher DOI:


URI: (FactScience: 122362)

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