Ligaments of the Spine

  • There are 2 main types of spinal ligaments
    • Vertebral body ligaments – 2 longitudinal ligaments
    • Vertebral arch ligaments – 5 ligaments. (4 at any given point)
  • These are all continuous throughout the spine


Vertebral body ligaments
  1. Anterior longitudinal ligament Prevents hyperextension
  2. Posterior longitudinal ligamentPrevents hyperflexion

Vertebral arch ligaments

Five key ligaments that all limit flexion:

  • Ligamentum flavum – connects adjacent laminae from C2-S1
    • Limit flexion
  • Intertransverse ligament – Connects transverse processes
    • Also limits flexion
  • Interspinous ligament – Connects spinous processes
    • Also limits flexion
  • Supraspinous ligament – Connects tips of spinous processes (from C7-S1)
    • Continuous with the nuchal ligament above C7
  • Nuchal Ligament – Superior contiuation of the supraspinous ligament
    • However, it also encapsulates interspinous ligament (i.e. not just tips)
    • Attaches to the nuchal line