If you’ve clicked here on our Bonati Blog, you probably know that we are an ambulatory spinal surgery center, treating guests with conditions of the spine. The Bonati Spine Procedures can treat conditions in all areas of the spine. The three spinal sections include the: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar.

We thought we’d take an opportunity to break down each area of the spine, explain its anatomy, and describe the symptoms of conditions that can happen in each particular area. Let’s start first with the top of the spine, the cervical area, commonly known as the neck.

Some information in this blog is excerpted from Medscape articles. Find their references below.

Cervical Spine Anatomy

The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae, C1 through C7. The cervical portion of the spine has a gentle forward curve called the cervical lordosis. C1 and C2, are highly specialized and are given unique names: atlas and axis, respectively. C1 is called the atlas because it bears the head, “the globe.” This level is important because it provides 50% of the flexion (bending) and extension of the neck. C1 has no vertebral body and no spinous process C2, called the axis, has a conelike projection from the vertebral body that articulates within the atlas. This articulation is responsible for 50% of the rotation in the neck.

C3 through C7 are more classic vertebrae, having a body, pedicles, laminae, spinous processes, and facet joints. C3 through C7, are similar to each other but very different from C1 and C2. Intervertebral discs are located between the vertebral bodies of C2 through C7. The intervertebral disks are involved in cervical spine motion, stability, and weight-bearing. Each has a vertebral body that is concave on its superior surface (from the top or above) and convex on its inferior (from the bottom or below) surface. The spinous processes of C3-C6 are usually bifid (split into two parts), whereas the spinous process of C7 is usually nonbifid and somewhat bulbous at its end. You can feel this bulb distinctly at the base of the neck.

The cervical spine is much more mobile than the thoracic or lumbar regions of the spine. Unlike the other parts of the spine, the cervical spine has transverse foramina in each vertebra for the vertebral arteries that supply blood to the brain. Additionally, the the spinal cord which runs the length of the spine, enters the spinal canal here, at the beginning of the cervical vertebrae.

Cervical Spine Conditions

A number of conditions can occur in the cervical spine. They can develop as a result of trauma (including accidental injuries from car collisions, falls, or sports injuries) or natural degeneration  (like degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis).

Symptoms includes pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness, and can often be the same in each level. However, the location of the symptoms can determine the affected cervical level. We’ve broken down WHERE one would feel these symptoms at each level.

C3 – In the side of the face around to the back of the head (think the line of your ears and jaw area)

C4 – In the front and back of the main portion of the neck (think where the Adam’s Apple)

C5 – In the lowest part of the neck where it meets the body and wraps around the front to the deltoids (which form the rounded contours of the shoulders) and the biceps (center of your arm)

C6 – At the top of the shoulders that travels down to the top of the arm and into the thumb

C7 – In the shoulder blade area that travels down the back of the shoulders, the back of the arm, and into the forefinger and middle finger

Other symptoms of cervical spine conditions include headaches, dizziness, difficulty walking, and trouble with grip or dropping things.

Treatment Options For Cervical Spine Conditions

Most cervical procedures performed at the Bonati Spine Institute are performed on levels C3 through C7, with tremendous success in eliminating those symptoms. You can read about our patented cervical spine procedure options here. If you too are looking for relief from a cervical spine condition, allow the Bonati Spine Institute surgeons to provide a complimentary review your case to determine if you are a candidate for the patented Bonati Spine Procedures. Simply call 855-267-0482 or complete our contact form here.

Read the full Medscape articles here:

Robert E Windsor, MD,  August 15, 2017,  https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1948797-overview#a1,

Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, November 30, 2017,  https://reference.medscape.com/article/1968303-overview#a3

Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash