In This Article:
The C2-through-C5 spinal motion segments are located in the middle portion of the cervical spine. They include 3 separate spinal motion segments: C2 C3, C3 C4, and C4 C5. Each segment consists of 2 adjacent vertebrae and the anatomical structures connecting them. These segments are less likely to experience degeneration and pain compared to segments lower in the cervical spine.
The adjacent vertebrae are connected in the back by a pair of facet joints that allow limited forward, backward and twisting motions. Articular cartilage enables the facet joints to move smoothly, while muscles, tendons, and ligaments help hold the vertebrae together. A strain or tear to any of these tissues can cause neck pain and stiffness.
Between the vertebrae is an intervertebral disc that provides flexibility and shock absorption. The disc is made up of a tough outer ring called the annulus fibrosus, which encapsulates a gel-like interior called the nucleus pulposus.
The spinal cord lies within the vertebral foramen, a space formed by the vertebral arch and vertebral body.
A spinal nerve branches out from the spinal cord and exits on each side through an intervertebral foramen. Each pair of nerves innervate a specific region of the body.