Cervical spine, cervical vertebrae, cervical vertebrae


The cervical vertebra refers to part of the entire cervical spine. This belongs to the human spine and extends from the head to the beginning of the thoracic spine. In healthy people, it shows a physiological lordosis, that is, the spine is slightly convex bent forward.

Figure cervical spine

Figure of the cervical spine: A - from the left and B - from the front

Cervical spine (red)

  1. First cervical vertebra (carrier) -
  2. Second cervical vertebra (turner) -
  3. Seventh cervical vertebra -
    Vertebra prominent
  4. First thoracic vertebra -
    Vertebra thoracica I
  5. Twelfth thoracic vertebra -
    Vertebra thoracica XII
  6. First lumbar vertebra -
    Vertebra lumbalis I
  7. Fifth lumbar vertebra -
    Vertebra lumbalis V
  8. Lumbar cruciate ligament kink -
  9. Sacrum - Sacrum
  10. Tailbone - Os coccygis

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

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A total of seven cervical vertebrae together form the Cervical spine. Right below the Occipital hole (lat. "Foramen magnum) the skullcap is where the first cervical vertebra is located, too Atlas called, which carries the entire head. Historically, it has a ring-shaped structure, the Vertebral bodies has been completely lost in the process and is replaced by the tooth (lat. Dens) of the second vertebral body, the so-called Axis („Lathe operator“) Replaced.
Inside the ring, in the rear area, is the one lined with the meninges Spinal cord. Further forward of the ring there is a thickened area on both sides that Massae lateraleswhich upwards with the joint surfaces of the occiput and downwards with the axis over the joint surfaces (lat. Inferior articular facies) stay in contact.
In addition, there are the lateral masses to the side lateral appendages (lat. Transverse process), in which there is a small hole for the vertebral artery. Instead of a spinous process, there is a small cusp at the rear of the ring, Posterior tubercle. There is also a Anterior tubercle, i.e. a hump on the front part of the ring arch.

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The axis is the second cervical vertebra and has a massive and fairly large vertebral body. The tooth of the axis (lat. Dens axis), which is actually the vertebral body of the atlas. To the left and right of the axis go the Transverse process, the transverse processes, which, like the atlas and the rest of the cervical vertebrae, contain a small hole for the cervical artery. Together with the atlas, the axis forms the head joint, which is primarily used for the rotational movement of the Skull responsible for. At the bottom, the axis connects with its articular process to the articular process of the third cervical vertebra. The other five cervical vertebrae have the usual shape. They have a vertebral body, vertebral joints and a vertebral arch, which forms the vertebral hole (lat. Vertebrae foramen) forms. This is where the spinal cord, meninges and the vessels running through them are located. In total, each vertebral body has 4 small vertebral joints (right and left, each above and below), one Spinous process (Spinous process) and one Transverse process (Transverse process). The seventh cervical vertebra (lat. Vertebra prominent), because here the spinous process protrudes further back than the one above, which means that it can also be easily felt from the outside. This provides an anatomical landmark.

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Between the cervical vertebrae are the Band washersthat buffer axially acting forces and are important for the mobility of the spine.

Several ligaments as well as the neck and Back muscles run between the cervical vertebrae and provide support and mobility. Together with the neighboring vertebral bodies (above and below) an outlet opening (Neuroforamen) shaped for the spinal cord nerves. A total of eight nerve cords, so-called spinal nerves, emerge from the cervical spine. The four above make up that Neck braid (lat. Cervical plexus), which includes the muscles and skin of the neck, as well as the diaphragm nervally supplied. The diaphragm is the main muscle for that breathing, from which it follows that no independent breathing in injuries of the annoy above the fifth cervical vertebra is more possible. Together with the nerves of the first thoracic vertebra, the lower four spinal nerves form this Arm braid (lat. Brachial plexus). This supplies the skin and the muscles of the chest and arm.

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My name is dr. Nicolas Gumpert. I am a specialist in orthopedics and the founder of .
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The spine is difficult to treat. On the one hand it is exposed to high mechanical loads, on the other hand it has great mobility.

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The treatment of the spine (e.g. herniated disc, facet syndrome, foramen stenosis, etc.) therefore requires a lot of experience.
I focus on a wide variety of diseases of the spine.
The aim of all treatment is treatment without surgery.

Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

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  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

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Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to make an appointment with private health insurers. I hope for your understanding!
You can find more information about me at Dr. Nicolas Gumpert

Figure vortex

Figure three typical vertebrae seen from above

A - fifth cervical vertebra (red)
B - sixth thoracic vertebra (green)
C - third lumbar vertebra (blue)

  1. Vertebral bodies - Corpus vertebrae
  2. Vortex hole - Vertebral foramen
  3. Spinous process
    (mostly in cervical vertebrae
    divided into two) -
    Spinous process
  4. Transverse process -
    Transverse process
  5. Articular surface for the rib -
    Fovea costalis processus
  6. Upper articular process -
    Superior articular process
  7. Vertebral arch - Arcus vertebrae
  8. Articular surface for the rib
    on the vertebral body -
    Fovea costalis superior
  9. Rib-transverse process joint -
    Articulatio costotransversaria
  10. Rib - Costa
  11. Rib head joint -
    Articulatio capitis costae
  12. Transverse process hole
    (only for cervical vertebrae) -
    Foramen transversarium
  13. Transverse process of the lumbar vertebra
    ("Costal process") -
    Costiform process

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations

Injuries to the cervical vertebrae

The most common cause of damage to the cervical spine are Accidents. Here is that Whiplash (also Whiplash injuries called) whose light form does not injure any ligaments. But there is also the difficult form. This is an instability at the head-neck junction, which is very dangerous, causes serious problems and can lead to death. Symptoms can be:

  • dizziness,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Cognitive disorders,
  • Attention deficit,
  • Disorientation,
  • burning or stabbing pain in the occipital area,
  • Hearing and vision disorders,
  • Muscle dysfunction,
  • cramps,
  • Limitations of the field of vision,
  • rapid exhaustion,
  • sleep disorders,
  • Feeling weak,
  • and Unsteadiness.

Other injuries to the cervical vertebrae are broken bones. They can do that Spinal cord hurt or crush and so on Paraplegia to lead. Bone fractures can, for example: due to a Osteomalacia, osteoporosis or one Tumor occur. A special form of a fracture is the so-called Jefferson Fracture of the Atlaswhich only at 1 to 2 % of all spinal fractures occurs. The anterior and posterior arches are broken and a ligament, the so-called transverse ligament, is torn. a headache and Stiff neck can be signs of this injury. Neurological failures are not to be expected in most cases. Treatment involves one Halo fixator and a joint stiffening operation.

Read more about the External fixator in general.

Changes in the intervertebral discs can also affect the neck area disc prolapse come. The characteristic pains here radiate into the arm (Cervicobrachialgia).

Pain in the cervical vertebrae is common. Occurs in addition to the unspecific complaints Misalignment of the head, this speaks very well Cervical spine syndrome. Degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae due to wear and tear can narrow the spinal canal (Spinal stenosis) and lead to the clinical picture of a cervical Myelopathy to lead. A loss of strength and increasing Paralysis the arms and legs are common. Quick pressure relief using a Stiffening operation (Spinal fusion) is indicated in many cases.

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