C3 (3rd Cervical Vertebra)

The C3 vertebra is one of the seven (7) cervical vertebrae, sitting just below the C2 axis vertebra and the C1 atlas vertebra within the neck. After the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the C3-C6 vertebrae are often grouped together as very similar, and as with the other movable vertebrae they are characterized by two primary parts: a vertebral arch that protects the spinal cord and the centrum or ventral body that provides strength, protection, and mobility to the spinal column and thus to the body....

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    Full C3 (3rd Cervical Vertebra) Description

    [Continued from above] . . . The centrum is concave on its upper surface and convex below, with cartilaginous intervertebral discs providing cushioning between these surfaces and those of the respective inferior and superior articular facets of the adjacent vertebrae, simultaneously aiding the articulation between itself and the C2 vertebra above and the C4 below. Two transverse foramina interrupt the structure of the vertebral arch to allow for the passage of the vertebral artery and vein as well as the sympathetic nerves servicing that region of the neck and body to pass through from the protected spinal column. A bifid (notched) spinous process extends beyond the vertebral arch.