Cervical Spine: Anatomy, Diseases and Treatment
30 Nov -0001

Cervical Spine Anatomy

The neck area of the spine known as the cervical spine is made up of seven assembled bones, and vertebrae. All these vertebrae are named C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 & C7. The C1 vertebra which is also known as the ‘atlas’ is shaped like a ring that begins at the center of the skull. The C2 vertebra which is also known as the axis let the C1 turn against it for the no rotation of your head. The seven cervical vertebrae are linked behind the bone by facet joints that permit all the movements of the neck.

The cervical spine is consist of ligaments, tendons, nerves, and muscles. Between every vertebra, there are shock-absorbing discs. Through the center of the whole spine, the spinal cord runs and transmits messages from the brain that manages every detail of the body’s actions. 

What does the cervical spine do?

The cervical spine does various functions:-

  • Shielding the spinal cord: In the human spine, there is a large hole known as the vertebral foramen through which the nerves of the spinal cord move from the foundation of the skull through the cervical vertebrae, the middle back, and finally conclude itself in the lower back.
  • Hold up the head and permit the movement: In the human body, the cervical spine braces the weight of the head and permits the head and neck with flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral flexion.
  • Allow a safe passageway for vertebral arteries: In cervical spine vertebrae, there are small holes that offer a shielded pathway for vertebral arteries to transfer blood to the brain. The vertebral arteries are the only part of the entire spine that carries holes in the bone that let arteries to transit.

What diseases and disorders affect the cervical spine?

There is a list of cervical spine disorder and diseases that affect the cervical spine:-

  1. Cervical radiculopathy: Due to cervical vertebrae when a cervical nerve gets pinched, it results in the rise of the condition called cervical radiculopathy. In this condition, the person experiences cervical spine pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness. The symptoms of cervical radiculopathy either remain restricted or can develop in the entire fingers, hands, and arms.

  2. Cervical spinal tumor and cancer: In this condition, abnormal growth of tissue in the spinal column begins to happen and results in becoming tumors. They can either be cancerous or non-cancerous.

  3. Cervical spondylosis: Cervical spondylosis is an age-related condition. This condition slowly degenerates the person’s joints and discs that are present in the cervical spine.
  4. Cervical spinal fracture: This condition occurs when a bone gets broken in the neck area of the spine. 
  5. Bone spurs: In Bone spurs, a random growth starts to happen in any of the seven vertebrae. This condition usually takes place either in the joints or in the human spine.
  6. Cervical stenosis: Cervical stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal becomes narrow for the nerve roots and spinal cords. Due to this the spinal cords and nerves become compressed, pinched, and irritated.
  7. Herniated disc: Herniated disc is a condition in which the rubbery disc between vertebrae pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. 

Cervical SpineTreatment

The cervical spine is a crucial part of the human body that supports the weight of the head, surrounds and prevents the spinal cord, and grants a large range of head motions. But some lifestyle issues and unexpected incidents can harm the cervical spine which leads to some serious issues. The treatments for treating the problems related to the cervical spine are divided into two sections:-


Steroids Injections: In a Cervical epidural block, the doctor injects these injections in the epidural space which presents next to the covering of the spinal cord. In cervical facet joint block, the doctor injects the steroid into the capsule of the facet joint.

  1. Radiofrequency ablation and medial branch block: In some cases of chronic neck pain this procedure is preferred. In this, the doctor damages the nerve by the radiofrequency ablation technique. 
  • Surgical 

When non-surgical techniques fail to provide relief then the doctor switches to a surgical procedure:-

  1. Cervical spinal decompression surgery: Cervical spinal decompression surgery refer to when the person is suffering from the symptoms that resulted from pressure, and compression on the spinal cord. The surgical techniques that are used in this surgery are cervical discectomy, cervical laminotomy, cervical corpectomy, and cervical foraminotomy.
  2. Cervical disc replacement surgery: In this surgery, the doctor separates an infected cervical disc and restores it with an artificial disc. Cervical disc degeneration is the most common cause for the doctor to go for this procedure.
  3. Cervical spinal fusion: Cervical spinal fusion is the surgery in which the movement between vertebrae gets eliminated. This surgery permanently joined one or more cervical vertebrae.
  4. Functional electrical stimulation for spinal cord injury: cervical spine injury procedure, the doctor uses tiny electrical impulses to activate particular nerves and muscles to return the function to the upper body muscles that are managed by the cervical nerves.

Why Dr. Darsh Goyal is the best choice for your Cervical spine treatment?

Dr. Darsh Goyal is a renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon who has experience of nearly two decades in knee and shoulder surgery. He has worked in some of the finest hospitals across the globe. He has successfully treated more than nine thousand patients. Dr. Darsh has received training from some of the most respected institutes worldwide - NHS England, Hss New York, USA, and Munich, Germany. He has written many books and international papers. Dr. Goyal’s Bones & Joint Centre is among the best centers for advanced Arthroscopy/Laser Surgery for knee and shoulder and Fast track Total knee Replacement.


Q1) What are the symptoms of cervical spine problems?

The Symptoms of cervical spine issues are experiencing pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs, arms, shoulders, head, etc. But the prime symptom of an issue in the cervical spine pain. You may experience difficulty in breathing and bladder control.

Q2)What does a cervical spine MRI show?

A cervical spine MRI shows various crucial information:-

  • Herniated discs
  • Tumors in the soft tissues or bones
  • Bulges in the arteries 
  • Vascular disorders
  • Bone abnormalities
  • Other soft tissue disorders
  • Joint disorders

Q3) Can neck problems affect your brain?

Yes. In upper cervical instability, the vertebral veins that extract the brain and vertebral arteries that insert the brain can be affected by the upright posture.

Q4) How many cervical vertebrae are in the human spine?

In the human spine, there are seven cervical vertebrae. These vertebrae are also known as C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, and C7.

Q5) What parts of the body are affected by the cervical spine?

Sternocleidomastoid, Trapezius, Levator scapulae, Suboccipital muscles, Deep cervical flexors, and Erector spine are the parts that get affected by the cervical spine.