Nothing is eternal in this world. Everything is mortal. And, so is the human body. Years of lifting, bending, twisting and turning can really take their toll on different parts of your body. Considering todays lifestyle and eating habits of people, it's not a big surprise that more than 60% of people experience neck pain at some point of time in their lives. If proper attention is not paid at the right time, then the pain increases and can result into cervical disc disease. A progressive pain can cause numbness as well as weakness in the shoulders, arms, and hands. This inability to move and discomfort can have a major impact on your day to day life activities, career, family etc. The neck also known as cervical spine, is comprised of seven vertebral bodies named C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and C7 and these make up the upper most part of the spine. The spine is connected to the skull through these vertebrae. There are several eight other cervical nerve roots namely C1-C8 in addition to these seven cervical vertebrae and these nerves branch from the spinal cord and control motor and sensory abilities for different parts of the body. Control and sensation to different parts of the body are provided by these nerves in the cervical spine. The functioning of these vertebrae is defined as follows:

  • C1, C2, and C3: These are the first three cervical nerves. They control the neck and head and control forward, backward and side movements. Not just the movement, these nerves also play a vital role in breathing. The sensation for the upper part of the head is controlled C2 dermatome and the back of the head and side of the face are handled by the C3 dermatome. Note that C1 does not have a dermatome.
  • C4: It controls the shoulders and the diaphragm for breathing. The neck and top of the shoulders are covered by C4 dermatome.
  • C5: It controls the upper body muscles such as deltoids and the biceps. The outer part of the arm and the shoulders are covered by C5 dermatome.
  • C6: The wrist extensors are controlled by C6. The C6 dermatome covers the top of the shoulders and runs down the side of the arm and into the thumb side of the hand.
  • C7: The C7 vertebrae controls the triceps. The C7 dermatome runs down from the shoulder to the back of the arm and into the middle finger.
  • C8: This vertebra controls the hands. The C8 dermatome covers the lower part of the shoulder and goes down the palm.

Home Remedies for Cervical

The cervical spine in the neck is made up of above mentioned seven bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are separated by discs and are filled with a cushioning gel-like substance. Your cervical discs stabilize your neck and allows it to turn smoothly from side to side and bend forward to back. They act as a shock absorber and provide cushion for the body. But as we said, nothing is eternal, over the time, these natural shock absorbers become worn and can start to degenerate. The space between the vertebrae contracts and nerve roots become strained. This process is known as cervical degenerative disc disease. As the disease progresses, the neck becomes less flexible, and you may feel pain and stiffness in the neck, especially as the end of the day reaches. When one of these conditions presses on one or more of the many nerves running down through the spinal cord, you also can develop pain, weakness or numbness radiating down your shoulder, arm, and hand. The neck pain caused due to age or sudden jerk is termed as cervical spondylosis in medical terms. The wear and tear of the cartilage and bones found in cervical spine causes the cervical pain. The pain is chronic and severe at times for some people. 

To diagnose the cervical pain, the doctor can recommend imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CT scans that can help your doctor visualize your spinal cord to determine the source of your neck pain. After determining the cause of neck pain, physical therapy is a treatment option for the disease. The physical therapist can also help you increase your range of motion and show you exercises and correct postures to help improve your neck pain. Your neck pain should improve with these treatments. Surgery is another treatment option.

Even though the cervical pain is most often due to age, it can also be influenced by lifestyle factors. To make sure you keep your spine as healthy as possible, don’t smoke, sit straight, watch your posture and eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Although the neck pain from cervical can return, you'll lower the chances if you take good care of your neck and the rest of your body.