Cervical Neck Vertebrae and Pain

Neck Vertebrae Neck vertebrae, to fully understand your neck pain, here is a little lesson in the anatomy of your neck.

Our spinal column is composed of three different groups of bones known as vertebrae and the group that supports the axis of the neck is known as the cervical vertebrae. The cervical area has 7 vertebrae and is the smallest out of all the types of vertebrae.

The Role of Neck Vertebrae in Cervical Anatomy

Neck vertebrae are piled up on top of each other and have a cervical disc located between each of them. The cervical vertebrae give structure and power to the cervical spine and their main function is to support our head.  This structure is also responsible in controlling the movements of our neck for rotation, flexion and extension.

Rotation is a movement where the head is turned from side to side. This movement of the neck occurs in the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine known as C1 and C2.

Flexion or the moving of the head forward is controlled by C5 and C6 and extension, a movement where the head is tipped backward, are controlled by C6 and C7.

How Neck Vertebrae in Cervical Pain Are Involved

A problem that affects almost two-thirds of the population is neck pain which may be due to injury, stiff neck, improper sleeping position and spinal problems. Our head is supported by the lower neck and upper back and these areas are the main reason why we experience neck pain. Neck pain occurs when there is tightness of the muscles in the neck or in the upper back or when the nerves of the cervical neck vertebrae is compressed.

Some Pain Relief Measures

Neck pain may be relieved by the following pain relief measures:

Massaging the neck is perhaps one of the easiest remedies to try. This can be done by rubbing your hands together rapidly to create heat which make your hands warm. Start massaging the affected area of the neck slowly for pain relief.

Massage can help in improving and increasing the blood flow in the neck area, which helps in relaxing the tensed muscles in the neck and shoulders. The action of your hands and heat will soothe the muscles and alleviate any discomfort. If you think you cannot do this on your own, ask for the help of a family member or your friend.

Cold Therapy Relieve Neck Vertebrae

Another relief measure is cold therapy, a well-known home remedy against neck pain or stiff neck. Neck pain can be due to an inflamed muscle. The cold treatment can help in reducing swelling, thus restoring the function of the neck muscles. This therapy is done by wrapping ice in a towel and placing it on the affected area for not more than 10 minutes. Be cautious when using ice and don't over do it.

Bad posture can also cause  cervical neck pain since the head is position forward, thus pulling the muscles. Improving your posture is the best preventive measure. When you are working, the position of your computer and the height of your chair can contribute to this health problem. Make sure that everything is set on its proper height so that you will have ideal posture while working. This measure might be very simple but can greatly help you.

Providing treatments and coming up with a decision regarding problems with the  neck vertebrae is sometimes a difficult task for physicians. Look for a physician who is knowledgeable on how to prevent, stabilize and treat any injuries to the cervical vertebrae.

Click here to return to neck-pain.org home page.