Anatomy 101- The Cervical Spine

Posted Wednesday at 18:42

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The cervical spine (aka the neck) is our first stop on this anatomical journey. In this blog I will tell you about some of the unique intricacies of the cervical spine and show you just how important it’s role is on a healthy functioning body.

We humans have 5 major senses. Sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch. 4/5 of these senses have a specific body part dedicated to taking our surroundings in, and all 4 of them are on our head (our face to be more specific). For this to work as efficiently as possible we need maximum available mobility of our head whilst also giving stability. This is our cervical spine’s main role.

The cervical spine has 7 vertebrae in total, C1-7.

C1, our top most vertebrae, is called the atlas. It is named

After the Greek god Atlas as they have similar roles. 

Instead of having the whole world on its shoulders though, the atlas has the skull sat on top of it, which as discussed before is 80% of how we experience our world.

C1 is also the only vertebrae not to have a spinous process (the bobbly bit of the spine you can feel running down your back)

C2 is called the axis. It is a very unique vertebra because it has a bony outgrowth on the top of it called the dens. 

This acts as the axis for our skull to rotate on, hence the name. The C2 vertebrae provides most of our rotation in our neck.

C3-7 are your more standard shape for vertebrae. The facet joints (the joints stat allow each vertebrae to attach to and articulate with each other) are arranged such that all planes of movement are available and in good amounts. 

One more thing that does make the cervical spine unique however is something called the transverse foramen. Each cervical vertebrae has one and it allows a pathway to form for the vertebral artery. 

This artery runs parallel THROUGH either side of the spine.

The cervical spine is not just there for support and movement. Nerve roots exit at all spinal levels including the cervical spine which provide a highway for communication between the body and the main center itself, the brain. Rather than type them all out muscle by muscle i’ve gathered some pictures for you instead

Just imagine how much negative impact a poor functioning cervical spine! Why not get yours checked with a FREE discovery visit! could have.