The word “neck” comes from a Latin word which means cervical. The neck is considered to be a very important part of the body as it serves to support the head. It serves as the connecting point between the head and the trunk.
The Bones Of The Neck
The neck is composed of several important bones primarily the cervical spine. It is where the seven bones of the cervical spine are found, from C1 to C7. Each bone is separated from each other by means of cartilaginous discs which serve as their cushion providing protection from any external pushing force. The discs also serve to maintain the form of the cervical spine and also facilitate its movement. The neck is known as the main support of the weight of the head which means it carries all of its contents, from the brain to the skull.
The neck should be maintained properly so that it can continuously perform its function for support. The neck also serves to protect the pathway of the nerves carrying different sensory and motor impulses from the brain to the different parts of the body. This facilitates the transfer of command and signals from one part of the body to another. The neck is also allowed to be very flexible so that the head can move in different directions except for the fact that it cannot make a total 360 degree turn due to some limitations. The cervical spine, as protected by the neck is somehow curved in a convex-forward structure to facilitate support of the head. As you can see from the functions, the neck is a very sensitive part of the body that must always be protected and properly maintained.
Prominent Neck Structures
Just below the chin, a firm area where the hyoid bone is located can be felt. For males, there is one major bone that can be very prominent and easily seen at the neck area and that is the “Adam’s apple”. At a lower part of the neck, the cricoid cartilage can also be felt easily. The middle area of the neck between the cricoid cartilage and the suprasternal notch or the upper tip of the sternum is where the thyroid gland together with the trachea can be found. The thyroid gland is an essential structure for maintaining the body’s metabolism and is responsible for releasing several hormones that contribute to maintaining body functions. Again, the neck proves to be an area that must be definitely protected properly because it contains structures that are very important in maintaining body functions. At the side of the neck, the prominent structure is the sternocleidomastoid muscle which primarily supports the movements of the head and the neck allowing it to be able to turn from side to side.
The upper part of the sternocleidomastoid muscle is the area where the submaxillary or submandibular gland is located. This is found just below the posterior are of the jaw. As you join the sternoclavicular area to the angle of the jaw, you can be able to locate the line or path of the common and the external carotid arteries.
Between the angle of the jaw and the mastoid process up the lower or posterior border of the sternomastoid muscle, you could be able to locate the line of the spinal accessory nerve. The accessory nerve is known to be the eleventh nerve which is responsible for movement of the neck and a part of the shoulder. The neck is also the area where you can locate the external jugular vein through the skin. Its line can be located from the angle of the jaw to the middle area of the clavicle. There are also several lymphatic glands that can be found in the area of the neck near the external jugular vein. On the other hand, the anterior jugular vein is considered to be a lot smaller going through the middle of the neck. The clavicle also known as the collar bone is the one that forms the lower area of the neck. It serves as the borderline between the neck and the large area of the shoulder.
Different Disorders Or Injuries Affecting The Neck
The neck is an area of the body that has a lot of sensitive bones, nerves and muscles. This is the reason why it should primarily be protected against any external threats to its stability and range of motion. Despite the wide range of functions if the neck, it is sensitive enough to be prone to different kinds of stress. There can be a lot of disorders of the neck that you could have if you do not take care of your neck properly. These disorders primarily cause pain which is truly inevitable
Pain in the neck can have a lot of sources and one of which is the whiplash. Whiplash is primarily a soft tissue injury that is brought about by excessive tension or pressure from the environment. This can also involve a strained muscle. There is also the case of a cervical herniated disc wherein the intervertebral cartilaginous discs that serve to protect the parts of the cervical spine is dislodged from their usual position leaving the cervical spine unstable. This is the case when the cartilaginous discs go out of their usual alignment so aside from causing pain, it can also cause different neurologic effects especially if the herniation is severe because at some point the pathway of the nerves are disrupted. There is also osteoarthritis which is a disease of the bone brought about by degeneration. Even the veins can also be affected by certain conditions thus causing pain and other problems to the neck. These include vein thrombosis primarily involving the jugular vein. This condition will lead to disruption of blood flow and inadequate blood supply to the area of the neck which can cause tissue damage and even worse conditions.
These disease conditions simply show that the neck is certainly a crucial area of the body that requires a lot of protection. You should be able to take necessary ways for you to be able to maintain your neck’s functioning like having a proper posture and preventing unnecessary tension and excessive force on your neck.
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