cervical vertebrae

In order to understand our back better, we need to get through some medical term. Bare with me as we work our way to answer this question: What is the cervical vertebrae ?

As seen on the photo the cervical vertebrae are the first 7 bones that make the spine a whole. From top to bottom they are C1, C2, C3, C4,C5, C6 and C7. No surprises there.

The cervical vertebrae’s main functions are to carry the skull and give the head and neck mobility.

To be more specific:

  • C1 and C2 control the head.
  • C3 and C4 help control the diaphragm. Those are the  muscles that go to the bottom of the rib cage and play a part in breathing and respiration.
  • C5 controls upper body muscles like the deltoids (which shape the shoulders with that sexy rounded contour) and the biceps, which allows the flex of the elbow and rotation of the forearm.
  • C6 is in charge of the wrist extensors. Muscles like the extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, and extensor carpi ulnaris that control wrist extension and hyperextension.
  • C7 controls the triceps. The large muscle on the back of the arm that allows for straightening of the elbow.

Mobility can be decrease due to  muscle strain, neck strain and strain experienced by other softer tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Neck strain is due to stiff neck caused by wrong bed position and partly due to carrying too many loads. A sudden jolt and pressure on the other hand may cause muscle strain.

A whiplash may harm the muscles group called Longus Colli. It’s the one protecting the cervical vertebrae.

Other neck pains are often described as tightness  of the Trapezius Muscles. This is the muscle connecting your neck, shoulders and back. It’s function is to lift with your arms, keep the neck balanced.




Source: Wikipedia