As the uppermost part of the spine, the cervical spine supports the head. It has a total of seven cervical vertebrae (C1 to C7). The first cervical vertebra (atlas) is situated directly below the foramen magnum (large opening), an opening through which the spinal cord passes into the vertebral canal. The second cervical vertebra (axis) is responsible for skull rotation. It has a tooth-like structure (dens axis) which the atlas rests on. The main purpose of the cervical spine is to stabilise and move the head and protect the spinal cord.
Cervical spine pain or injuries are therefore serious events which should be examined by a specialist.
Pain in the back, neck or arm can be signs of cervical spine syndrome, or C-spine syndrome for short. A distinction is usually made between acute cervical spine syndromes and chronic cervical spine syndromes. Acute cervical spine syndromes are typically caused by injuries caused by sudden overstraining. This includes e.g. injury to the cervical spine in traffic accidents, the so-called whiplash injury of the cervical spine. However, acute cervical spine syndromes can also arise due to unusual strain from heavy physical activity or by exposure to draughts. Another trigger for pain in the cervical spine is acute spinal disc herniation (disc prolapse), where the inside of the disc emerges from the nucleus and compresses the spinal cord nerves.
Chronic back pain is often diagnosed by specialists from different fields and different areas of knowledge.
Depending on whether you consult a general practitioner, a doctor with a background in psychosomatic medicine, an orthopaedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon or a rehabilitation physician, the explanation for your problem and the treatment recommendations you receive, may vary greatly. Many patients relate the experience of having to search for an effective diagnosis of and plan of action for their back pain for a very long time.
The spine is the central axis of the human body. It holds us upright, gives us mobility and protects the sensitive spinal cord. Despite its remarkable properties, however, more than 40% of all adults suffer from some kind of spinal disorder and lower back pain is one of the leading causes of work disability in the industrialized countries of the world. Moreover, the incidence of spinal disorders in individuals below twenty years of age continues to grow. Whether you suffer from temporary lumbago, chronic back pain, or a gradually worsening wear-related condition, it is essential to regard backpain as an important alarm signal.
Spinal Fusion (Sypondylodesis) is surgery to relieve backpain caused by hypermobility of vertebrae in your spine (Spondylolisthesis). The surgical fusion of vertebrae is called Spondylodesis. Spondylodesis also treatsspinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis.
Spondlylolisthesis is the name given to the condition when a vertebrae (single bone of the spine) slips forward and pinches the spinal cord and sensitive nerve roots in this area.
Degenerative Disc disease is a chronic and often painful condition. This condition happens when one or more of the vertebral discs (cushions between the vertebrae) become damaged and weakened and no longer work as shock absorbers for the movement of the spine.
A herniated cervical disc occurs when a disc in the neck region of the spine becomes ruptured or bursts as a result of damage to the surface. The soft material inside the disc comes out, hardens and can press on the nerves which run through the spinal column.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. Every nerve connecting the brain with the body passes through this spinal canal. Spinal stenosis consequently affects the function central nervous system. Every nerve of the peripheral nervous system providing control and feeling for muscles and limbs passes through the spinal canal. Pressure and narrowing of this passage can result in severe functional deficits and pain.
Vertebral discs are usually only mentioned in connection with herniated discs and back pain: our spinal discs tend to have a bad reputation. Most people start to consider the existence of vertebral discs only after a painful discus prolapse causing extreme pain. Other symptoms such as tingling, numbness and weak reflexes indicate loss of nerve function in the spine.