**Curves**

Viewed laterally the vertebral column presents several curves, which correspond to the different regions of the column, and are called cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic.

The cervical curve, convex forward, begins at the apex of the odontoid (*tooth-like*) process, and ends at the middle of the second thoracic vertebra; it is the least marked of all the curves.

The thoracic curve, concave forward, begins at the middle of the second and ends at the middle of the twelfth thoracic vertebra. Its most prominent point behind corresponds to the spinous process of the seventh thoracic vertebra. This curve is known as a *tt curve.*

The lumbar curve is more marked in the female than in the male; it begins at the middle of the last thoracic vertebra, and ends at the sacrovertebral angle. It is convex anteriorly, the convexity of the lower three vertebrae being much greater than that of the upper two. This curve is described as a *lordotic curve*.

The pelvic curve begins at the sacrovertebral articulation, and ends at the point of the coccyx; its concavity is directed downward and forward.

The thoracic and pelvic curves are termed **primary curves**, because they alone are present during fetal life. The cervical and lumbar curves are *compensatory* or *secondary*, and are developed after birth, the former when the child is able to hold up its head (at three or four months) and to sit upright (at nine months), the latter at twelve or eighteen months, when the child begins to walk.

Read more about this topic: Human Vertebral Column

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### Famous quotes containing the word curves:

“For a hundred and fifty years, in the pasture of dead horses,

roots of pine trees pushed through the pale *curves* of your ribs,

yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter

frost heaved your bones in the ground—old toilers, soil makers:

O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.”

—Donald Hall (b. 1928)

“One way to do it might be by making the scenery penetrate the automobile. A polished black sedan was a good subject, especially if parked at the intersection of a tree-bordered street and one of those heavyish spring skies whose bloated gray clouds and amoeba-shaped blotches of blue seem more physical than the reticent elms and effusive pavement. Now break the body of the car into separate *curves* and panels; then put it together in terms of reflections.”

—Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)

“At the end of every diet, the path *curves* back toward the trough.”

—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)