ACT Wellness Center

Vertebrae of the Week: C5

The C5 vertebra, the fifth down from your brain stem, works in close conjunction with the C3 and C4 vertebrae, all playing a vital role in the health of your diaphragm. An injury here can be detrimental to the muscles which control breathing, leading to the use of a ventilator or even death. Your C5 also affects your vocal cords, neck glands, and pharynx. A misalignment can cause a sore throat and laryngitis. In addition, certain skin conditions can be affected by your C5.

The C5 Vertebra and Dermatomes

Dermatomes are an area of skin supplied by a single spinal nerve. They indicate specific pathways to a related nerve root. The dermatomes for C5 innervate the muscles that control elbow movement, your bicep, and some muscles in your shoulder. Therefore, if you have any tingling, numbness, or trouble moving those areas, it could be associated with a subluxation in C5.

The Seriousness of a C5 Injury

While the C3 and C4 also help to control and protect your diaphragm, the C5 is the most important for this function. An injury to this vertebra can be among the most serious you can receive. People suffering a spinal cord injury at the C5 will often become unable to speak or breathe on their own, without help.


A C5 subluxation or injury can result in difficulty breathing, paralysis, loss of motion, and loss of much of their independent function in their daily lives. These kinds of injuries are among the most serious back injuries a patient can suffer.

How a Chiropractor Can Help

Because chiropractic adjustments help restore the function of your nervous system, they can have a profound impact to your overall health without drugs or surgery. By keeping your nervous system free of subluxations, your body can harness its maximum innate power to fight bacteria and viruses. Make sure your body is fully functional by getting regular adjustments!

Want to know more? Give Dr. Carmelo F. Caratozzolo a call at 703-491-9355 you’ll be glad you did. Dr. “C” is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP). His office address:  ACT Wellness Center, 2894 Garber Way, Woodbridge, VA.