C6, C7, & C8 Spinal Injuries
C7 spinal cord injury and other injuries to the lower cervical vertebrae/nerves can result in paralysis and other health complications.
The C6 vertebra is also known as the sixth cervical vertebra. Following C6, the C7 vertebra is both referred to as the seventh cervical vertebrae and as the vertebra prominens. The vertebra prominens is the last bone in the cervical spinal column group. Since it is not a vertebrae, C8 is also labeled as the cervical spinal nerve 8.
The C6 vertebra is found in the inferior end of the neck, just above the thorax. A bony arch, known as the vertebral arch, wraps around the vertebra to provide attachment for muscles. The C7 is the most inferior vertebra, as well as the largest, in the neck area.
Between the C6 and C7 vertebrae are intervertebral disks, which are thin cushions of fibrocartilage for shock absorption and alignment. The C7 has similar anatomical characteristics to C6, except the C7 vertebra is superior to the first thoracic vertebra (T1) and earns the name vertebra prominens from it being visible and felt at the base of the neck.
Unlike C6 and C7, C8 is not a vertebrae, but is a cervical spinal nerve instead.
Treatment for these types of spinal cord injury are aimed at retaining as much function as possible while regaining lost function. Several therapy options may be tried to aid in spinal cord damage recovery.
Mental therapy for a C8 injury and vertebrae damage is also a very important part of treating a spinal cord injury patient. The therapist can help the patient deal with the emotional side of recovery.
Spinal cord injuries to the C6, C7, and C8 levels that are treated immediately have the best chance for recovery. Patients will typically know the extent of the long-term damage within six months of the injury. Learning to deal with the limitations of the injury is a very important part of the recovery phase. Keeping a positive attitude can aid the patient in pushing through surgeries and therapies.