Millions of people across the world suffer from neck pain. The neck and upper back are referred to as the cervical region of the spine. This area is extremely important because the neck not only supports the head, but it also enables a range of head movements and protects the spinal cord’s connection to the brain.
Cervical spinal nerves pass from the spinal cord between the cervical vertebrae and to the neck, upper back and upper extremities. They control a diverse set of muscles and reflexes in the upper body, excluding the head. This means that, an abnormality, which actually exists in the cervical spine, may be perceived in a different area of the body such as the arms or fingers. The body parts innervated by cervical nerves are well-known to physicians.
- C-1 and C-2 – these vertebrae are commonly called the atlas and the axis vertebrae, respectively. The atlas supports the head and connects to the axis and connects the skull to the vertebral column. The atlas vertebra is not separated from the axis by an intervertebral disc. The axis is a specialized vertebra with an upward pointing boney prominence called the odontoid. This projection allows much of the side-to-side motion of the head. Symptoms caused by damage to the cervical spinal nerves at C-1 or C-2 range from a headache to paralysis.
- C-3 – this vertebra is next lower vertebra. The C-3 cervical spinal nerve connects neurons to the phrenic nerve, which innervates the diaphragm. Portions of the phrenic nerve also arise in parts of C-4 and C-5.
- C-4 – this vertebra surrounds spinal nerves that control muscles of the upper body, such as the biceps and the deltoids. If you have sustained disc damage in this region, you may feel neck pain or experience muscle weakness that radiates from the upper back down through the arms.
- C-5 and C-6 – these vertebrae surround nerves that send signals to and from the wrists. Damage to these nerves can result in pain, general weakness, and loss of feeling, accompanied by a decrease in wrist mobility.
- C-7 – these spinal nerves send and receive sensory impulses from the triceps, which are the muscles on the back of the upper arm. You may feel localized pain, tingling, or traveling pain if these nerves are compressed.
- C-8 – the last vertebra of the cervical region surrounds the spinal nerves that control the hands and forearms. Damage in this region may result in a “pins-and-needles” feeling, which is similar to the feeling you have when your hand “falls asleep.”
Outpatient, endoscopic procedures for the neck & back
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may have damage or degeneration in the cervical area of your spine. The experts at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offer the latest technologies in treating cervical spine conditions like herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal stenosis, and many more. Contact us today about our minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people rediscover a life.. We also can provide you with a complimentary review of your CT scan or MRI.