Understanding neck or cervical work injury anatomy is important for the workers compensation attorney.  At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin we take pride in continuing education efforts designed to help us get the best results possible for injured workers.

Neck pain from a work accident is not seen as often as a low back or lumbar injury, but the damage to a working man or woman’s career is just as devastating.  While a work-related neck injury can come from a single injury, most often the problem develops over time from the strain of job duties and activities. Eventually, the parts of the cervical spine begin to degenerate causing neck pain and disability.  Knowing how the neck normally works and why one feels pain are important in helping the workers compensation honest attorney truly understand the mechanism or causation of a work-related neck injury.

The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to form the spinal column. In between each vertebrae is an intervertebral disc, jelly donut like shock absorbers.

The cervical spine is formed by the first seven vertebrae. Doctors often refer to these vertebrae as C1 to C7. The cervical spine starts where the top vertebra (C1) connects to the bottom edge of the skull. The cervical spine curves slightly inward and ends where C7 joins the top of the thoracic spine.

Each vertebra is formed by a round block of bone, called a vertebral body. A bony ring attaches to the back of the vertebral body. When the vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, the rings form a hollow tube. This bony tube surrounds the spinal cord as it passes through the spine. The bones of the spinal column protect the spinal cord.  One way to understand the anatomy of the cervical spine to look at a spinal segment. Each spinal segment includes two vertebrae separated by an intervertebral disc, the nerves that leave the spinal cord at that level, and the small facet joints that link each level of the spinal column.

As the spinal cord travels from the brain down through the spine, it sends out nerve branches between each vertebrae called nerve roots. These nerve roots join together to form the nerves that travel throughout the body and form the body’s electrical system. The nerve roots that come out of the cervical spine form the nerves that go to the arms and hands.  The neck or cervical work injury often results in pain going down one or both arms.