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Learn anatomy of the spine: Diagrams and interactive vertebrae quizzes

Recommended video: Vertebral column [21:36]
Structure and function of the vertebral column.

The vertebral column, also known as the spine, is probably the most weird and wonderful looking structure of the human anatomy. It is the home and protector of the spinal cord, but also supports the weight of the upper body, maintains posture and facilitates movement.

With several different sections, parts, articulations and markings, it’s certainly not an easy topic to learn. That’s why we’ve created this free vertebrae quiz guide - to help you learn about it in a fun, efficient and stress-free way. 

To begin, we’re going to look at its anatomy in more detail. Following this you’ll try labeling a spine diagram based on what you’ve learned, and finally you’ll explore our vertebrae quizzes to consolidate any holes in your knowledge.

Unlabeled diagram of the spine (download free PDF below!)
  1. Vertebral column anatomy 101
  2. Spine diagram labeled
    1. Spine diagram unlabeled 
  3. Interactive quizzes (revise or learn from scratch)
  4. Sources
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Vertebral column anatomy 101

The vertebral column (spine) extends from the inferior aspect of the occipital bone of the skull to the tip of the coccyx. It can be divided into 5 regions, each characterized by different types of vertebrae:

  • Cervical region (7 vertebrae)
  • Thoracic region (12 vertebrae)
  • Lumbar region (5 vertebrae)
  • Sacral region (5 fused vertebrae)
  • Coccygeal region (4 fused vertebrae)

Spine diagram labeled

The spine diagram below highlights all of the vertebrae labeled. You can see the cervical vertebrae labeled at the top, the thoracic vertebrae labeled in the middle and the lumbar vertebrae labeled towards the bottom. 

Take your time looking at this diagram and trying to connect the labels on the diagram with what you’ve learned in the previous sections. One of the best ways to make information stick is to link form with function!

Spine diagram unlabeled 

To put your knowledge into action, we recommend trying our vertebrae labeling quiz. Here the spine diagram is unlabeled, ready for you to fill in yourself. Download the free unlabeled PDF worksheet below! You can also download the labeled vertebrae worksheet to make notes. 


Interactive quizzes (revise or learn from scratch)

After studying the labeled vertebrae, you should have a pretty solid idea of the sectional anatomy of the spine. But, if you don’t practice, it won’t be encoded in your long term memory. That means it’s time for some spaced repetition vertebrae quizzes!

There are four quizzes available to test your knowledge: basic and identification (identify and match the structure name and image), clinical question banks (link your anatomy knowledge with clinical scenarios) and Intelligent Mix (a combination of all of the above exercises). Depending on the subject, we have even more quiz types available. 

To build upon what you’ve learned, we recommend beginning with the identification quizzes, and then moving on to the clinical question banks. Don’t panic if you don’t get everything right straight away. These quizzes learn your weak spots as you go along, and give you more questions on those topics until you’ve improved your knowledge.   

And... you’re finished! Did you enjoy learning the anatomy of the vertebrae with quizzes and labeled diagram exercises? There’s plenty more where that came from - check out our complete library of free exam quiz guides!

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