The neck or cervical spine is a coordinated network of bones, nerves, joints, and muscles directed by the brain and the spinal cord. It is designed for strength, stability, and nerve communication. The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae and a pair of facets joints at each level that allow your neck to turn and bend. At each level of your cervical spine, the spinal cord sends a pair of exiting nerves out through a narrow spinal canal on each side of your body called the foramen. These nerves travel into your shoulders, arms, and your hands.
Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, shoulders, arms and your hands. It may limit how much you can move your head and neck. Numerous problems can cause pain in the neck. Additionally, irritation of the spinal cord or exiting nerves along their pathways can cause pain. Irritation of the spinal cord can cause pain into the legs and other areas below the neck.