Cervical spine is formed by seven vertebras named as C1 to C7. First vertebra is known as atlas and second as axis. Third to sixth cervical vertebra are typical in anatomical structure. But as the cervical spine approaches its end, its last vertebra or seventh cervical vertebra, C7 changes in shape.
Seventh also known as the vertebra prominens because of its long spinous process, the tip of which can be felt through the skin at the lower end of the nuchal furrow or neck.
This vertebra prominens is used as landmark in clinical examination for numbering the vertebra.
It spine is thick, long and nearly horizontal. It is not bifid, but ends in a tubercle.
The transverse processes are comparatively large in size, the posterior root is larger than the anterior. The anterior tubercle is absent. The foramen transversarium is relatively small, sometimes double, or may be entirely absent.
The tip of the spine of the vertebra provides attachments to the ligamentum nuchae, the trapezius, the rhomboideus minor, the serratus posterior superior, the splenius capitis, the semispinalis thoracis, the spinalis cervicis, the interspinales, and the multifidus.
In the transverse process, the foramen transversarium usually transmits only an accessory vertebral vein. The posterior tubercle provides attachment to the suprapleural membrane. The lower border provides attachment to the levator costarum.
The anterior root of the transverse process may sometimes be separate. It then forms a cervical rib of variable size.
Cervical rib is an accessory rib in some individuals. It may be symptomless but frequently it leads t to pain and produces discomforts of varying degrees. This occurs due to compression of nerves and vessels in the neck by the rib.
Text adapted from: Human Anatomy by BD Chaurasia
Image Credit: Wikipedia
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