Primary And Secondary Curvatures

The vertebral column consists of 5 regions:

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

Primary curvatures

  • Develop in foetal life, before birth
    • Regions affected:
      • Thoracic
      • Sacral
    • Kyphosis
      • Spine curves posteriorly, like a hunchback appearance
      • Memory aid: the one that’s not lordosis

Secondary curvatures

  • Develop in childhood, after birth
    • Regions affected:
      • Cervical
      • Lumbar
    • Lordosis
      • Spine curves anteriorly, like a fancy, puffed out pigeon
      • Memory aid: lordosis happens later; lords are fancy people, so they stand proudly and don’t hunch their backs


  1. Emory University. (n.d.). The Vertebral Column and Spinal Cord. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

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