Dura mater

The dura mater, also referred to simply as the dura, is one of three layers that make up the meninges, which is a membrane system that lines the skull and vertebral canal surrounded by the brain and spinal cord. As the outermost and toughest layer of the three, the dura mater covers the arachnoid mater (the middle layer), which in turn covers the pia mater, also known as the innermost layer. Learn more about the function of the dura mater and treatment for associated conditions in the following article.

Role of the dura mater

The three layers of the meninges reside between the skull and the brain, as well as between the spinal canal and the spinal cord. The primary role of the meninges is to cover and protect the central nervous system from shock and damage.

While the dura mater surrounding the brain contains two layers, the spinal dura mater contains only one meningeal layer. It assists in a variety of roles, including:

  • Carrying blood from the brain back to the heart
  • Supporting the dural sinuses, or the channels found between the dura mater and the brain
  • Holding in cerebrospinal fluid and blood

The spinal dura mater also forms tubes, or sleeves, that surround the nerve roots as they exit the spinal column. In turn, any pressure or damage to the spinal dura mater can affect the spinal nerve roots.

To exit the spinal column, nerve roots go through the foramina, which are the open spaces between the vertebrae, and then the nerves travel to various areas in the body. As it passes through this opening, a spinal nerve root becomes particularly vulnerable to pressure if there is narrowing by a spinal condition such as a herniated disc or bone spur.

Treatment for spine issues caused dura mater pressure

Once a doctor has diagnosed you with an issue that’s causing pressure on the dura mater, an initial course of conservative treatment such as physical therapy, steroidal injections or pain medication is usually recommended. If these traditional treatments prove ineffective, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our outpatient procedures. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^ Traditional spine surgery requires a large incision and extended hospitalization.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain since 2005. We perform muscle-sparing procedures through a less than 1-inch incision, which results in a lower risk of complications. Reach out our dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our state-of-the-art procedures.