Lab 2 Pre-Lab Exercise:

1. Surface anatomy of the back
Surface features of the back are used to locate muscle groups, identify major bony landmarks, determine regions of the vertebral column, and to approximate the position of the spinal cord. These features are also used to locate organs that occur posteriorly in the thorax and abdomen. With the help of your teammates and using the image below, find the following surface anatomy landmarks of the back. Also review the pre-lab exercises from Lab 1.


In a lateral view, the normal curvatures of the vertebral column are apparent. In the thoracic and sacral/coccygeal region identify the primary curvatures (curvatures that develop in the fetal period and are retained throughout life). These curvatures are concave anteriorly and called thoracic and sacral kyphoses.

In the cervical and lumbar regions identify the secondary curvatures. The cervical lordosis becomes apparent when an infant begins to hold his/her head up. The lumbar lordosis becomes obvious when the infant begins to walk upright.

The sacral curvature of females is reduced so that the coccyx protrudes less into the pelvic outlet.





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Updated 09/23/14 - Zeininger