One of the main injury's that I treat hear in my practice, Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic, is whiplash to the neck following car accidents. Quite often I get asked about these injury's and what is wrong. Its important to understand your neck and how it is laid out to best understand whiplash injury's
Your spine is divided into three parts. These three parts are the cervical (upper) spine, the thoracic (middle) spine, and the lumbar (lower) spine. Of these sections, the cervical spine consists of the seven bones, or vertebrae (referenced as C1-C7, with C1 located at the very top). The thoracic spine has twelve vertebrae (T1-T12) and the lumbar five (L1-L5).
The cervical spine is the first part of your spine to hold the weight of the skull, and is also responsible for allowing you to turn, tip, and bend your head and neck. The cervical bones are considerably smaller than the rest of the spinal bones. The mid back and low back are much less flexible than the neck, as the lumbar spine is built more for support than to provide a ton of motion. While being able to freely move the head and neck is vital for human survival, it does leave these smaller more fragile bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs prone to injuries such as whiplash.
The first bone in the neck is referred to as C1, and is the uppermost vertebra of the spinal column. This bone is also known as the atlas, since the weight of the skull rests upon it. C2 is called the axis, and it is the pivot on which the atlas vertebra turns, allowing you to turn your head from side to side. Nodding of the head happens between the bones of C1 and base of the skull. .
The next four bones in the neck, C3 to C6, are relatively the same in size and structure being wider than they are long, and having two bones which meet to form what's called the spinous process at the back of your neck (this is the little bump you can feel in the back of your neck). All of these bones are connected with a joint, and a series of ligaments.
C7 is referred to as the vertebral prominens as it has a considerably longer spinous process. This area of the neck is highly
Each of the first six bones in the neck has a hole, called a foramen, in each of the side of the bone, which blood vessels and bundles of nerves are able to travel to and from your brain.
A basic anatomy lesson now orient's you with some of the potential areas that can by injured in a car accident. Hopefully now you can better understand some of the wonderful information that is available, both here on www.bellevuewhiplash.com and across the internet.
Dr. Michael Weir is the clinic director at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We will also be hosting a variety of relevant guest bloggers to help you understand your injuries better.