How well do you know your neck?

There are seven bones in your neck. Each has its own role. Think of them like the parts of a movable, adaptable jigsaw.

Some bones are so specialised that they get their own names. The bone closest to the skull is called the atlas (in Greek mythology, Atlas is the god who is commonly depicted as holding up the globe), the bone beneath it is called the axis, and then the names start getting a little less creative: C3, C4… C7.

This is one of the bones in your neck. The large triangular hole is there for a reason: it’s a strong canal for your spinal cord to run through. The smaller holes on either side protect the arteries that transport the blood to the brain.

The dozens of muscles around the neck get their cues from the brain via small nerves which run to the muscles and instruct them on when to tense up (all the time if you’re stressed!) and when to relax (almost all the time if you’re asleep).

There’s also a strong and complex network of ligaments and discs joining the bones of the neck into a sturdy, unified whole. So the jigsaw of the neck is not just the way the bones sit together, but the way the muscles, bones, nerves, discs, ligaments and blood flow all support each other to keep you thinking, moving and active.

Think that’s pretty amazing? So do we. Want to know more about your neck? Your physio’s happy to tell you more.