Dictionary > Cervical spinal nerve

Cervical spinal nerve

noun, plural: cervical nerves
Any of the eight pairs of nerves that emerge from the cervical vertebrae of the vertebral column
The spinal nerve is a nerve that occurs in pairs emerging from the spinal cord. Each pair is attached to the cord by two roots, i.e. the anterior (ventral) and posterior (dorsal) roots. Although these two roots unite in the intervertebral foramen they divide again into anterior division (or ventral ramus) and posterior division (or dorsal ramus).1 In humans, there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves emerging from the spinal cord and are grouped based on the corresponding regions of the vertebral column, i.e. cervical spinal nerves, thoracic spinal nerves, lumbar spinal nerves, sacral spinal nerves, and coccygeal spinal nerves. These nerves emerge from the spinal cord through an opening called intervertebral foramen (an opening between adjacent vertebrae of the vertebral column).
The cervical spinal nerves are spinal nerves emerging from the cervical region of the spinal cord. They all emerge above their corresponding vertebrae except for the eighth cervical nerve, which emerges below the seventh cervical vertebra and above the first thoracic vertebra. The cervical nerves are as follows:

  • cervical spinal nerve 1 (C1)
  • cervical spinal nerve 2 (C2)
  • cervical spinal nerve 3 (C3)
  • cervical spinal nerve 4 (C4)
  • cervical spinal nerve 5 (C5)
  • cervical spinal nerve 6 (C6)
  • cervical spinal nerve 7 (C7)
  • cervical spinal nerve 8 (C8)

These cervical nerves innervate the sternohyoid, sternothyroid, and omohyoid muscles.
See also:


1 spinal nerve. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/spinal-nerve

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