Spinal nerve

Spinal nerve
Spinal nerve.svg
The formation of the spinal nerve from the posterior and anterior roots
Latinnervus spinalis
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

A spinal nerve is a mixed nerve, which carries motor, sensory, and autonomic signals between the spinal cord and the body. In the human body there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves, one on each side of the vertebral column. These are grouped into the corresponding cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal regions of the spine.[1] There are eight pairs of cervical nerves, twelve pairs of thoracic nerves, five pairs of lumbar nerves, five pairs of sacral nerves, and one pair of coccygeal nerves. The spinal nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system.


Spinal nerve
Typical spinal nerve location

Each spinal nerve is a mixed nerve, formed from the combination of nerve fibers from its dorsal and ventral roots. The dorsal root is the afferent sensory root and carries sensory information to the brain. The ventral root is the efferent motor root and carries motor information from the brain. The spinal nerve emerges from the spinal column through an opening (intervertebral foramen) between adjacent vertebrae. This is true for all spinal nerves except for the first spinal nerve pair (C1), which emerges between the occipital bone and the atlas (the first vertebra). Thus the cervical nerves are numbered by the vertebra below, except spinal nerve C8, which exists below vertebra C7 and above vertebra T1. The thoracic, lumbar, and sacral nerves are then numbered by the vertebra above. In the case of a lumbarized S1 vertebra (aka L6) or a sacralized L5 vertebra, the nerves are typically still counted to L5 and the next nerve is S1.

Scheme showing structure of a typical spinal nerve
1. Somatic efferent.
2. Somatic afferent.
3,4,5. Sympathetic efferent.
6,7. Sympathetic afferent

Outside the vertebral column, the nerve divides into branches. The dorsal ramus contains nerves that serve the posterior portions of the trunk carrying visceral motor, somatic motor, and somatic sensory information to and from the skin and muscles of the back (epaxial muscles). The ventral ramus contains nerves that serve the remaining anterior parts of the trunk and the upper and lower limbs (hypaxial muscles) carrying visceral motor, somatic motor, and sensory information to and from the ventrolateral body surface, structures in the body wall, and the limbs. The meningeal branches (recurrent meningeal or sinuvertebral nerves) branch from the spinal nerve and re-enter the intervertebral foramen to serve the ligaments, dura, blood vessels, intervertebral discs, facet joints, and periosteum of the vertebrae. The rami communicantes contain autonomic nerves that serve visceral functions carrying visceral motor and sensory information to and from the visceral organs.

Some anterior rami merge with adjacent anterior rami to form a nerve plexus, a network of interconnecting nerves. Nerves emerging from a plexus contain fibers from various spinal nerves, which are now carried together to some target location. Major plexuses include the cervical, brachial, lumbar, and sacral plexuses.

Other Languages
العربية: عصب شوكي
bosanski: Kičmeni nerv
català: Nervi espinal
čeština: Míšní nervy
Deutsch: Spinalnerv
español: Nervio espinal
Esperanto: Spina nervo
فارسی: عصب نخاعی
français: Nerf spinal
italiano: Nervo spinale
Nederlands: Spinale zenuw
日本語: 脊髄神経
português: Nervo espinhal
română: Nerv spinal
slovenčina: Miechový nerv
српски / srpski: Кичмени нерви