Learn All About The Cervical Spinal Nerves

The cervical spinal nerves run from C1 to C8. They consist of sensory and motor fibers, which means that they are mixed nerves. Read on to learn more!
Learn all about the cervical spinal nerves

The cervical spinal nerves are a group of eight spinal nerves from the eighth cervical vertebra that originate from the spinal cord. These eight vortices, C1 to C8, start from the base of the skull.

All the cervical spinal nerves, except C1 (which usually have no spine), are connected to a dermatome. A dermatome is an area of ​​skin that is supplied by a spinal nerve.

Spinal nerves

So, the cervical spinal nerves comprise eight spinal nerves, and these are a set of nerves (about 31 to 33 nerves) that belong to the somatic nervous systemwhose function is to supply different parts of the body. 

They are composed of a sensory root and a motor root. The sensory roots give sensitivity to the muscles they supply. In addition to this, the motor roots will allow the muscles to contract automatically. Thanks to this composition they reach their goal.

The spinal nerves that include the cervical spinal nerves are as follows:

  •  8 pairs of cervical nerves (C1-C8)
  • 12 thoracic nerves (T1-T12)
  • A coccygeal nerve
  • 5 sacral nerve (S1-S5)
  • Five lumbar nerves (L1-L5)

Characteristics of the cervical spinal nerves


The cervical spinal nerves share the same characteristics as all the other spinal nerves.

First, as we have already mentioned, are the mixed nerves. In other words, they are composed of both sensory and motor fibers.

Second, all the ventral (anterior) roots, except the thoracic nerves (T1 to T12), form several branches known as the plexus (braids). These braids are found in the cervical, brachial and lumbar sacral areas.

The fibers that occur in these ventral roots will cross and redistribute so that each ramus contains fibers with different spinal nerves. 

In addition, they will from each ventral ramus go to the periphery of the body via different routes in these branches.

For this reason,  each muscle in the limbs will be stimulated by more than one spinal nerve. If there is damage to one of the segments of the spine, the tip will not be completely unusable.

The cervical spinal nerves

The ventral ramus also forms the origin of the cervical plexus. The branches are skin nerves that stimulate the skin in the following areas, and thus provide sensory impulses:

  • Neck
  • The ears
  • The back of the head
  • The shoulders

In addition, other branches will supply the anterior muscles of the neck. The phrenic nerve fibers, which group fibers mainly from C3 and C4, occur in the cervical plexus. The phrenic nerves run between the chest to the diaphragm, the most important respiratory muscle. 

The ventral nerves from the cervical spinal nerves C5 and C8, together with the anterior ramus of T1, form the brachial plexus (Plexus brachialis). The roots are responsible for giving energy to the shoulders and the upper part of the body.

Finally, we have the dorsal cutaneous branches that are responsible for the stimulation of the cervical facets. It is from these roots that the muscle branches of the head and neck originate, as well as the skin between the vertex (the upper surface of the head) and the shoulders. 

The division of the cervical spinal nerves

representation of the nervous system

Like all other spinal nerves, they are divided into dorsal and ventral ramuses after leaving the spinal canal. When they leave the spinethe ventral and dorsal roots join together and form the spinal or dorsal ganglia (a collection of nerve tissue).

Then these ganglia will be divided into:

  • Ventral or anterior ramus. This is a thick branch that is braided, divided and branched with anterior ramies of other spinal nerves to create, as we mentioned, the cervical plexus.
  • Dorsal or posterior ramus. This is the lower division of the spinal cord, and is much thinner than the previous one.

To conclude, cervical nerves are an important part of the nervous system. We hope you enjoyed learning about them, and see the importance of taking care of them  to avoid various diseases. 

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