C1-C7 (cervical vertebrae)

Low Back Pain Relief

Medical Definition of C1-C7 (cervical vertebrae)

C1-C7 (cervical vertebrae): C1 through C7 are the symbols for the cervical (neck) vertebrae, the upper 7 vertebrae in the spinal column (the vertebral column).

C1 is called the atlas. It supports the head and is named for the Greek god Atlas who was condemned to support the earth and its heavens on his shoulders. (Because the god Atlas often adorned maps, a compilation of maps came to be known as an atlas).

C2 is called the axis because the atlas rotates about the odontoid process of C2. The joint between the atlas and axis is a pivot that allows the head to turn.

C7 is sometimes called the prominent vertebra because of the length of its spinous process (the projection off the back of the vertebral body).


Quick GuideLow Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 5/13/2016

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors