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HealthSheets™

Know Your Neck: The Cervical Spine

By learning about the parts of the neck, you can better understand your neck problem. The bones of the neck are called cervical vertebrae, commonly identified as C1 through C7. Together, they form a bony column called the spine. Vertebrae also protect the spinal cord, a pathway for messages to reach the brain. Surrounding the spine are soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and nerves.

 

 

Flexibility Is Key

For the neck to function normally, it has to be flexible enough to move without discomfort. A healthy neck can move easily in six different directions.

Backward and forward neck exercise
Flexion and extension move the head forward and backward.
Left to right neck exercise
Rotation turns the head from left to right, with the chin over the shoulders.
Side to side neck exercise
Lateral bending moves the head from side to side.

© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.