The Spine and Ribcage

The spine and the ribcage of the human body both play very important roles. The spine if broken or fractured may cause a loss of mobility of the limbs resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia. Breaking the neck may cause death. The ribcage not only protects the heart from impacts but also protects the lungs. The average human being has 12 ribs on either side, there are abnormalities which may result in people having up to 28 rubs but these are generally vestigial ribs located in the cervical region and commonly cause neck, arm and back pain.

The neck, spine and ribcage of the human body consists of 12 ribs, cervical vertebra, Manubrium, Body of sternum, Costal cartilages, Xiphoid process and 12 thoracic vertebra.

The ribs.

The human rib cage is also known as the thoracic cage and is constructed of cartilage and bone which surrounds the chest cavity like a cage and provides support for the pectoral girdle (shoulder) and is a core section of the human skeleton. There are typically 24 ribs in the human body with 12 on the left side and 12 on the right. Each rib is named by its numerical position ranging from 1st rib to 12th on either side.

Cervical vertebra

The cervical vertebra is the vertebra which is located immediately inferior to the human skull. This is an individual bone which is in the vertebra column which is responsible for encasing and protecting the spinal cord from damage. The spinal cord runs from the base of the skull to the pelvis.


The manubrium is also known as the manubriums sterni and is recognised as the broad, upper section of the sternum. The manubrium is a quadrangular shape and articulates with the top two ribs and the clavicles.

Body of sternum

The body of the sternum in the human body is also known as the gladiolus and is significantly longer, thinner and also narrower than the manubrium and gains the most of its breadth closer to the lower end.

Costal cartilages

The costal cartilages are essentially bars of cartilage which exist to enhance the ribs in a forward projection and contribute to the walls of the thorax’s elasticity.

Xiphoid process

The xiphoid process is also referred to as the xiphisternum and is a small extension made of cartilage which goes to the lower section of the sternum which is commonly turned into bone in adult humans. Around the ages of 15 to 29 the xiphoid will usually fuse itself to the body of the sternum using a fibrous joint which makes it unable to move.

Thoracic vertebrae.

The 12 thoracic vertebrae are intermediate in sizes between those which are of the cervical regions and the lumbar regions and are increasing in size as the spine proceeds further down. They compose the middle section of the vertebral column located between the cervical vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae. The twelve thoracic vertebrae are commonly referred to in short as T1 for the first thoracic vertebra, T2 for the second and so forth giving you the results of T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, T7, T8, T9, T10, T11 and T12.