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C5 (5th Cervical Vertebra)

Last Updated: Jun 23, 2015

The C5 vertebra is the fifth of seven (7) cervical vertebrae at the top of the spinal column. After the C1 and C2 vertebrae, the C3-C6 vertebrae are often grouped together since they are much alike in form and function. Like the others, the C5 is relatively smaller and more flexible than the other true or movable vertebrae. Its triangular vertebral foramen within the vertebral arch is smaller thanmycontentbreak that of the vertebrae above it but larger than the spinal foramina of the vertebrae below it. Two transverse foramina pass through the bone’s vertebral arch to allow for the passage of the sympathetic nerves, vertebral vein, and vertebral artery away from the spinal cord and out to the body. Anterior to the vertebral arch, the vertebral body or centrum is concave on top and convex below where it meets with the respective articular joints of the C4 vertebra above it and C6 below to allow for the movement of the neck. Intervertebral discs between the centrums of each bone (as well as between the respective superior articular facet and inferior articular facet of each spinal bone) protect and support the spinal column while enabling smooth movement of the backbone.