How Are Cervical Discs Numbered In My Neck?
If you were told you have a C5-C6 herniated disc, or maybe a C6-C7, but you don’t understand cervical disc numbers, this video will help. In part four of this educational series explaining cervical disc anatomy for patients who have a herniated disc in their neck, top spine specialist Dr. Seth Neubardt explains in the video how the discs in the neck are numbered and how to count the cervical bones to find out where your herniated disc is located. Click here to download a full video transcript.
Locating Your Herniated Disc with Cervical Disc Numbers
Often when patients are diagnosed with a herniated disc at C6 and C7, for instance, they think that means they have two herniated discs, one at C7 and one at C6. But they actually only have one herniated disc at C6-C7.
How are cervical discs numbered?
Each cervical vertebral bone is given one number. The bone numbering starts at the top, near the skull, with C1 and then each bone going down is given a higher number with the last bone in the neck called C7. Between those bones are discs, each given two numbers that coorespond to the bone above and below the disc. The disc located between C4 and C5 is called C4-C5.
So, if you have a herniated disc between bones C4 and C5, you have one herniation at disc level C4-C5.
Understanding anatomy and cervical disc numbers makes it much easier to understand your condition and where the disc herniation is located. In the next video of our educational series Dr. Neubardt discusses compression of the spinal cord. Watch it next to learn more about cervical disc anatomy.