The neck, or cervical spine, is made up of seven cervical vertebrae. The vertebrae are the bones that protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord, a thick bundle of nerve cells, carry messages for movement and feeling to all parts of the body. Muscles and ligaments attach to the vertebrae and help stabilize the spine.

Though the neck is very flexible, the structures of the neck are at risk for injury due to strong, sudden movements or force that may happen in accidents, such as falls, sports or car accidents. This may cause fractures of the vertebrae, tearing or stretching of the ligaments or strain of the muscles.

It is important to evaluate and treat these injuries due to the risk of damage to the spinal cord.