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Flashcards in Radiculopathy Deck (13):

Where do nerves exit the spinal spinal column?

From top to bottom down the entire length of the spine, at each spinal level nerves exit through holes in the bone of the spine called foramen on both the right and left side of the spinal column.


What are the nerves called as they leave the spinal cord?

They are called nerve roots or radicular nerves.


What do nerve roots do?

They branch out at each level of the spine and innervate different parts of our body.


What is innervate?

To supply an organ or other body part with nerves


Where do nerves that exit the cervical spine travel to?

They travel down through the arms, hands and fingers.


What happens when neck problems affect the cervical nerve root?

This is why neck problems that affect a cervical nerve root can cause pain and other symptoms through the arms and hands (radiculopathy), and low back problems that affect a lumbar nerve root can radiate through the leg and into the foot (radiculopathy, or sciatica), thus prompting leg pain and/or foot pain.


Lumbosacral region

Of or relating to or near the small of the back and the back part of the pelvis between the hips. The lumbosacral junction consist of the L5 vertebral body articulating with the first sacral vertebral body.


What types of problems occur in the lumbosacral region?

Because of this, and because the spinal canal is usually fairly spacious in the low back, problems in the lumbosacral region (the lumbar spine and sacral region of the spine) usually cause nerve root problems, not spinal cord injury. Even serious conditions such as a large disc herniation or fracture in the low back are less likely to cause permanent loss of motor function in the legs (paraplegia, or paralysis).


How are nerve roots named in the cervical spine?

In the cervical spine, the nerve root is named according to the LOWER spinal segment that the nerve root runs between. For example, the nerve at the C5-C6 level is called the C6 nerve root.

It is named this way because as it exits the spine the nerve root passes OVER the C6 pedicle (a piece of bone that is part of the spinal segment).


How are nerve roots named in the lumbar spine?

In the lumbar spine, the nerve roots are named according to the UPPER segment that the nerve runs between. For example, the nerve root at the L4-L5 level is called the L4 nerve root.

The nerve root is named this way because as it exits the spine it passes UNDER the L4 pedicle (a piece of bone that is part of the spinal segment).


Where does the nerve root naming change occur?

The area that the naming change occurs is at the C7-T1 level (Thoracic 1), meaning that there are 8 cervical nerve roots and only 7 cervical vertebrae. Here, the C8 nerve exits UNDER the C7 vertebra and OVER the T1 vertebra. From this point down through the upper back, lower back and sacral region, the nerve is named for the upper segment of the spine that the nerve root runs between (and the pedicle it passes UNDER as it exits the spine).


What might the doctor still say?

This is part of the picture. However, the doctor may still say that you have a problem with the L5 nerve root at the L4-L5 level. Since we just explained that the L4 nerve root exits at the L4-L5 level, this sounds like a contradiction. However, both statements are correct, and can be explained by the fact that there are two nerve roots at each level.


What is radiculopathy?

Pain that radiates to the lower extremities