Cervical Spine Diagram
The Cervical Spine Diagram shown below is a lateral view which means you are looking at the spine from its side. Cervical spine is the spine in the neck area.
On the diagram you could see the 7 cervical vertebrae; C1 down to C7. In between the vertebrae the space for the disc material is seen too. On x rays (the above picture is an x-ray actually) we cannot see the soft tissue structures like the spinal cord, the intervertebral disc or the spinal nerve roots etc whereas a cervical spine MRI picture can show all these above mentioned structures. With x ray films you just see an empty space where such soft tissue structures exist, whereas the MRI will display these soft tissue structures to a considerable degree. In the above spine picture the soft tissue you see between the vertebral bones is an artifact and not the actual disc material.
As a short form the Cervical spine area is also called as C spine area. Similarly short form for the Thoracic spine area is T spine, for the Lumbar spine is L spine, for the Sacral spine it is S spine. The 7 cervical spine bones (vertebral bones) are labelled from C1 to C7. The top most cervical spine vertebra, the C1 vertebra is also called as Atlas, whereas the C2 vertebra is also called as Axis. The remained 5 C spine vertebrae do not have separate names like the C1 & C2.
The various disease conditions that are encountered in the cervical spine area include vertebral bone fractures, vertebral joint dislocations, infections of the vertebral bones (called as osteomyelitis, inflammatory conditions of the spine - for example rheumatoid arthritis, tumors of various kind including meningiomas, neurofibromas, shwannomas, gliomas, hemangioma, sarcoma etc. The spinal cord in the cervical or neck area is also susceptible for infarction (stroke), MS (multiple sclerosis) etc. Disc conditions like herniated disc, disc bulges commonly occur in this area of the spine, and spinal stenosis and degenerative spine disease are also quite common in the neck area of the spine. About these individual diseases you will find separate articles in the articles section of this website.
For a detailed anatomy of this region of the spine click on
Anatomy of Cervical Spine
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