cervical spine

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Related to cervical spine: cervical spine injury, Cervical Spondylosis


1. a thornlike process or projection; called also acantha and spina.
2. the rigid bony structure in the midline of the back, composed of the vertebrae; called also backbone, spinal column, and vertebral column.

The spinal column is the axis of the skeleton; the skull and limbs are in a sense appendages. The vertebrae also provide the protective bony corridor (spinal canal) through which the spinal cord passes; they can move to a certain extent and so give flexibility to the spine, allowing it to bend forward, sideways and, to a lesser extent, backward. In the areas of the neck and lower back, the spine also can pivot, which permits the turning of the head and torso.

There are usually 24 movable vertebrae and nine that are fused together. The topmost are the seven cervical vertebrae, which form the back of the neck, supporting the skull. The head turns from side to side by means of a pivotal motion between the two highest vertebrae. Below these are the 12 thoracic vertebrae, the supports on which the ribs are hinged, and then the five lumbar vertebrae, the largest movable vertebrae (the cervical are the smallest). Below the lumbar vertebrae, the spine terminates with two groups of vertebrae fused into single bones: the sacrum, composed of five vertebrae, and the coccyx, composed of four vertebrae. Viewed from the side of the body, the spine has the shape of a gentle double S curve.
Malformations of the Spine. Of the various types of spinal malformations, some are congenital and others the result of postural defects or injuries. spina bifida is congenital. kyphosis may occasionally be congenital but is more often caused by one of the diseases that attack the structure of the bones. The most common of these is pott's disease, or tuberculosis affecting the vertebrae and soft tissues of the spine. Another is osteitis deformans, a type of bone inflammation in which parts of the bone are replaced by softer tissue. scoliosis is a curvature of the spine toward one side.
cervical spine that portion of the spine comprising the cervical vertebrae.
lumbar spine that portion of the spine comprising the lumbar vertebrae.
thoracic spine that part of the spine comprising the thoracic vertebrae.

cervical spine (C-spine)

that portion of the spine comprising the cervical vertebrae.

cervical spine

Clinical anatomy The region of the vertebral column encompassing C1 through C7
Figure 1: Efferent nerve pathways from the brainstem and spinal cord. Shown on the right: somatic, to skeletal muscles. Shown on the left: autonomic. B brain stem, C cervical, T thoracic, L lumbar, S sacral segments of the spinal cord. (Red shaded regions are those with no autonomic outflow.)

cervical spine

the seven cervical vertebrae, through which the cervical part of the spinal cord passes from the brain to the thoracic part of the spine. Damage to the spinal cord at a high cervical level, where the phrenic nerves to the diaphragm originate, can paralyse breathing. Cervical damage in sport may result in quadriplegia, seen in sports such as rugby (collapsed scrum), trampolining and horse riding. See also spinal injury; Figure 1.


pertaining to the neck or to the cervix.

cervical ankylosis
ankylosis of the intervertebral joints. See also hypervitaminosis A.
cervical aplasia
segmental aplasia of the genital tract may be manifested by the absence or deformity of the cervix. Infertility is absolute. Diagnosis in large animals can be performed by rectal palpation; small animals may require surgical exploration.
cervical cirrhosis
caused by severe laceration at parturition; a rare cause of dystocia.
cervical curve
one of the vertebral curves of the body.
cervical dislocation
satisfactory method of euthanasia for laboratory mice, immature rats and poultry. Must be performed by an experienced person in order to achieve rapid and humane death.
cervical fixation
suturing of the cervix through the vaginal floor to the prepubic tendon. Used in the treatment of vaginal prolapse in cows.
cervical incompetence
damage to the cervix during parturition in the mare may cause its deformity and render it incapable of effectively closing off the uterus from the vagina. Infection of the uterus and infertility result.
incomplete cervical dilation
incomplete dilation of the cervix during parturition in adult cows, less commonly in heifers, may necessitate obstetrical, even cesarean, assistance; thought to be hormonal. See also ringwomb in ewes.
cervical inflammation
cervical instability, cervical malformation, cervical malarticulation
see canine wobbler syndrome.
cervical line lesions
of the tooth neck characterized by progressive, subgingival, osteoclastic resorption. These occur commonly in cats. See odontoclastic resorption.
cervical lymphadenitis
infection with abscessation of cervical lymph nodes in guinea pigs; usually caused by Streptococcus zooepidemicus.
cervical massage
suitable for use only in cows. The fetus is pulled up into the cervix and light traction maintained while a well-lubricated hand is pushed gently between the cervix and the fetus. This is done repeatedly and continued if there is no evidence of trauma. The cervix may dilate sufficiently to allow normal delivery of the calf.
cervical mucus
from the cervix. Its presence in liberal amounts is used as an indication of estrus.
cervical paralysis
inability to lift the head, usually accompanied by paralysis of all four limbs.
cervical plexus
see cervical plexus.
cervical rib
a supernumerary rib arising from a cervical vertebra.
cervical spinal cord lesion
includes fracture-dislocation, cervical vertebral abscess, compression due to exostosis, spinal myelitis and myelacia, congenital lesions including spinal canal stenosis.
cervical spine
cervical vertebrae.
cervical spondylolisthesis, spondylopathy
see canine wobbler syndrome.
cervical spondylosis
see cervical ankylosis (above).
cervical static stenosis
one of the two syndromes listed under cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy; characterized by compression of the cord at C5 to C7 in large male horses 1-4 years of age; the position of the neck is immaterial; the resulting syndrome is characterized by an insidious onset of ataxia. See also enzootic equine incoordination.
cervical stenotic myelopathy
focal myelopathy caused by compression of the spinal cord by excessive flexion of the neck in patients, especially dogs, in which there is a pre-existing narrowing of one of the two vertebral foramina in one or more vertebrae, especially cervical vertebrae. See also degenerative myeloencephalopathy.
cervical swab
swab of the os cervix for bacterial and virological examination for pathogens likely to affect fertility adversely. Used in fertility examination of cases of prolonged infertility in ruminants. See also uterine swab.
cervical syndrome
clinical signs caused by a lesion of the spinal cord between C1 and C5. They include tetraparesis to tetraplegia or hemiparesis to hemiplegia, hyperreflexia, hypertonia, depressed postural responses and sometimes cervical pain.
cervical trauma
most common are lacerations during parturition; resulting adhesions and fibrosis may cause subsequent dystocia.
cervical vertebrae
the skeleton of the neck, in most mammals comprising seven vertebrae, in birds up to 25.
cervical vertebra fracture
in horses occurs as a result of head-on collisions at speed; causes recumbency and inability to move limbs voluntarily, but there is full consciousness and patient can eat and drink if assisted.
cervical vertebral malformation malarticulation syndrome
cervical vertebral stenotic myelopathy
one of the causes of incoordination in young horses. See also enzootic equine incoordination.

Patient discussion about cervical spine

Q. I have hurt my cervical spine and shoulder in a rear end car crash in July. Why does it still hurt?

A. Spine and back injuries are known to to be causing a lot of pain and discomfort and for a long period of time. You should try and do some mellow exercise and physiotherapy that might help you a lot. If the pain is unbarable, you should consult your doctor about using pain medications.

More discussions about cervical spine
References in periodicals archive ?
Traumatic cervical spine distraction injury at C6-C7.
The fracture of his cervical spine and multiple tears in his liver led to his death, he added.
Cervical spine injuries commonly occur at the; scrum, ruck and maul, as well as in tackles (Brooks et al.
Another key reason for the development of this CPR was the ongoing controversial topic of safety and risk of cranio-cervical arterial dysfunction from cervical spine manipulation (Ernst 2007).
Sections of the right vertebral artery at its entrance into the lower cervical spine showed extensive perivascular hemorrhage.
Brown-Sequard syndrome after blunt cervical spine trauma: clinical and radiological correlations.
Tests showed she had a fracture to the cervical spine.
They believe the procedure will lead to the growth of bone cells that will fuse her cervical spine which had rejected earlier a titanium implant, Cervantes said.
Mechanical airway obstruction secondary to retropharyngeal haematoma is a life-threatening emergency that should be anticipated in all patients with cervical spine injuries, regardless of the severity of trauma or surgery.
In 1890, Garrod reported involvement of the cervical spine in 178 (36%) of 500 patients with RA.
i-FACTOR bone graft is the first bone graft to be approved for use in the cervical spine and only the second PMA-approved bone graft in the spine.