The cervical spine (often shortened to C-spine) is the upper part of the spine extending from the skull base to the thorax at the level of the first vertebra with a rib attached to it. It normally consists of seven vertebrae. Its main function is to support the skull and maintain the relative positions of the brain and spinal cord.
For a basic description of the anatomy of a generic vertebra, see vertebrae.
- small, oval-shaped vertebral bodies
- relatively wide vertebral arch with large vertebral foramen
- small, triangular vertebral canal
- relatively long, bifid (except for C7) inferiorly pointing spinous processes
- transverse foramina protecting the vertebral arteries and veins
A more detailed description can be found in the article on typical cervical vertebrae.