The spine contains dozens of nerve roots, all of which are critical parts of our body’s nervous systems because they enable sensory and motor functions. Formed by a combination of dorsal and ventral nerve fibers that branch off your spine, nerve roots exit at fixed intervals along the spinal column through intervertebral foramina, or open spaces, between each vertebra.
Outside your spinal column, each spinal nerve root connects with its own localized network of nerves, tendons, ligaments, and other bodily tissues to send and receive information about a particular region of your body. Your spinal column is divided up into five sections, each serviced by a dedicated number of spine nerve roots. These include the following:
- 8 cervical spine nerve roots, C1-C8: located in the neck, they supply movement and sensory information to the diaphragm, arms, neck, and upper torso
- 12 thoracic spine nerve roots, T1-T12: located in the upper back region, these nerve roots are responsible for sensation and movement in your chest, abdomen, inner arms, and upper back
- 5 lumbar spine nerve roots, L1-L5: located in the lower back, these roots supply sensation and movement to your lower back, legs, and feet
- 5 sacral nerve roots, S1-S5: between the T12 and L1 vertebrae lies the bundle of nerve roots called the cauda equina, which oversees functioning of the bowel, bladder and sexual organs
- 1 coccygeal nerve root, Co1: innervates skin around the tailbone and anus
With such a vast number of nerve roots in the spine, it’s easy to see how nerves can become compressed. Disorders such as arthritis, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis can all lead to inflamed, herniated, and degenerated discs, which may cause irritation of delicate nerve roots. The results are symptoms of pain, tingling and numbness.
If you’re experiencing radiating spine pain due to compressed nerve roots, consult your physician and begin a regimen of non-invasive treatment. However, if conservative therapies prove ineffective and open back surgery seems like the only option, consider Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures offer welcome alternatives to the risks and lengthy recovery periods of traditional surgery. Contact us today for more information about our outpatient procedures, and to receive a free review of your MRI or CT scan.