Anatomy, Head and Neck: Cervical Spine

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


The human vertebral column or spine has five distinct anatomical regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. However, the cervical spine is a potential area of importance due to its proximity to the head, containment of the upper spinal cord, and vertebral arteries that contribute to the posterior circulation of the brain. Seven cervical vertebrae, combined with cartilages, various ligaments, and muscles, make a sophisticated and flexible structure that allows a variety of head/neck movements. Similar to other areas of the spine, cervical vertebrae also have intervening intervertebral disks for shock absorption and flexibility. Additionally, it contains a much wider spinal canal to accommodate the spinal cord, blood vessels, meninges, and nerve roots.

Publication types

  • Study Guide