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Cervical Spine Conditions


What is the Cervical Spine?

The cervical spine (neck)  holds the part of the spinal cord that transmits messages to the brain. Due to the location at the back of the neck, this part of the spine is naturally flexible and allows for constant body movement. The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebral segments (C1-C7) that connect the base of the skull to the thoracic (upper back) spine. The vertebrae that make up this part of the spine are smaller than the rest of the spine, including the thoracic (upper back) spine and the lumbar (low back) spine.

Functions of the Cervical Spine

As expected, the cervical spine plays a large role in your spine function. It is also heavily related to body movement, brain function, and stability. This part of the spine works with muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons to effectively complete all necessary functions, which include:

  • Protecting the spinal cord
  • Supporting the skull/head
  • Allowing for movement (head rotation, flexion, and extension)
  • Allowing blood to flow to the brain

Conditions and Damage

The cervical spine is an important part of a patient’s body. Maintaining a healthy spine without the presence of pain is difficult as an adult. Though this part of the spine is not delicate, everyday activity and stress can cause gradual aging and damage. In some less common situations, immediate trauma and injury can also occur in the cervical spine. The following are common conditions of the cervical spine that we can diagnose:

  • Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease– as part of the aging process, spinal discs become less flexible and more compressed.
  • Herniated Cervical Disc– also known as bulging disc or ruptured disc, a herniated disc causes pressure on the spinal cord and neck area.
  • Cervical Stenosis– a condition in which the spinal canal narrows. If the condition progresses, pain or numbness can be experienced in the neck, shoulders, or extremities.

If you are concerned about your cervical spine, or have been told by another doctor that your neck has spine damage, schedule a consultation at Pacific Spine Specialists. Dr. Timothy Keenen and his trained staff members recognize how much spine-related pain can affect your everyday life. To get back into the swing of things, contact us at our Tualatin, OR office. We treat patients all over the Portland, OR area.