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Neck or Cervical Work Injury

Understanding neck or cervical work injury anatomy is important for the workers compensation attorney.   A workers compensation lawyer does not need to know biochemistry, but should have a thorough knowledge of basic anatomy concerning the injuries involving workers injured on the job or from job duties.

Each spinal segment includes two vertebrae (spinal column bones) separated by an intervertebral disc, the nerves that leave the spinal cord at that level, and the small facet joints, which are more like clasps in the back of each vertebra that link each level together.

An intervertebral disc is made of connective tissue, the material that holds the living cells of the body together. Most connective tissue is made of fibers of a material called collagen. In some cases, the collagen fibers join together to form a structure like a rope. In other cases, the fibers are arranged like a piece of cloth, or knitted materials.  The disc is a specialized connective tissue structure that separates the two vertebral bodies of the spinal segment. The disc normally works like a shock absorber. It protects the spine against the daily pull of gravity. It also protects the spine during activities that put strong force on the spine, such as jumping, running, and lifting.

An intervertebral disc is designed like a jelly donut.  The center, called the nucleus, is spongy. It provides most of the ability to absorb shock. The nucleus is held in place by the annulus, a series of strong ligament rings surrounding it. Ligaments are strong connective tissues that directly attach bones to bones.  Tendons attach muscles to bones.

There are two facet joints in the back between each pair of vertebrae, one on each side of the spine.  Its not a joint in the sense of the hip ball and socket or the articulating knee joint.  Where facets meet, they form a joint or clasp that connects the two vertebrae. The alignment of the facet joints of the cervical spine allows freedom of movement for bending and turning the neck.

The surfaces of the facet joints are covered by articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is a smooth, rubbery material that covers the ends of most joints. It allows the bone ends to move against each other smoothly, without pain.

Two spinal nerves exit the sides of each spinal segment, one on the left and one on the right. As the nerves leave the spinal cord, they pass through a small bony tunnel on each side of the vertebra, called a neural foramen.

At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our knowledgeable attorneys study neck or cervical work injury anatomy in our efforts to help us get the best results possible for injured workers.

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