How Many Nerves are in the Spine?
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
We have already discussed how the spine interacts with the body’s nervous systems and that the spinal column carries nerves from the brain to the rest of the body. In this article, we will take a closer look at the specific spinal nerves.
Nerves in the Spine
There are two primary nervous systems in the body: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the spinal cord and brain (as well as the 12 cranial nerves in the brain). The central nervous system connects directly to the peripheral nervous system, which consists of the spine and the nerves that branch out from the spinal canal to the other areas of the body. This peripheral nervous system communicates directly with the central nervous system and tells the brain when to move a body part or if the body is in pain.
Nerves in the spine (the peripheral nervous system) come in pairs. In total, there are 31 different pairs of nerves in the spine. These are each divided into groups that correspond to the different regions of the spine:
- Cervical – 8 pairs of nerves
- Thoracic – 12 pairs of nerves
- Lumbar – 5 pairs of nerves
- Sacral – 5 pairs of nerves
- Coccygeal – 1 pair of nerves
The nerve roots are located inside the spinal canal. From there, they branch off into anterior and posterior divisions that control the limbs and muscles of the body.
These intricate nervous systems are essential to our basic bodily functions. When nerves are negatively impacted, whether by an injury or a bulging spinal disc, it can result in immense pain or paralysis. Thankfully, there are many modern procedures that can fix nerve issues in the spine and prevent permanent sensory damage.