Vertebra prominens (C7)
Vertebrae are the 33 bones in the spine. They are divided into five areas: the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum, and coccyx. The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae and is located at the base of the skull. Its function is to support the skull, allowing head movements back and forth, and from side to side, as well as protecting the spinal cord. The seventh cervical vertebra is the last bone in this group, and is characterized by a slightly longer spinous process than the other cervical vertebrae. This spinous process is a projection where muscles and ligaments are attached. Tendons, muscles, and ligaments work in tandem to provide balance and to enable movement, whilst preventing excessive movement resulting in injury. The cervical spine is particularly prone to whiplash. These symptoms may be mild, such as reduced neck movements. Or they may be indicative of serious damage to the spinal cord if symptoms include leg weakness. The seventh cervical vertebra is linked to a condition known as cervical ribs. These may compress nerves, causing pain or tingling in the upper arm. Medication can be given to relieve this, but surgery may be indicated for chronic pain.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Vertebra prominens (C7)