Exploring the Spinal Cord: Anatomy, Pathways, and Implications of Damage

Hello, everybody my name is shariq and i want to talk to you about the spinal cord so the spinal cord is part of the central nervous system it’s an extension of the brain and brain stem and one of its most important roles is to send and receive information now.

What type of information am i referring to well it likes to receive information from the body about sensation so it likes to receive sensory information and sensory information includes things like touch pain temperature pressure for example this information is going into the spinal cord and moving up the spinal cord to go to the brain.

So you are aware of it but it also likes to send out motor signals now when i say motor signals we think movement and that’s exactly what i’m referring to but motor also just means to tell a particular organ or gland to perform its role so for example a motor signal can be sent to muscles to tell the body to move.

It can be sent to glands to tell it to release some sort of substance or chemical or it could tell the organ to perform its role so this is outward motor movement that’s coming from the brain so importantly what you’re going to find is that the signals coming in sensory and the signals going out Motor.

They’re actually bundled up into nerves and we call these spinal nerves and in actual fact they’re paired so there’s going to be a spinal nerve on the other side that’s going to have both sensory and motor nerves associated with it as well importantly there are 31 pairs of these spinal nerves.

So what you’re going to find is at the neck area which we call the cervical or cervical region we have eight pairs of spinal nerves which we label c1 to c8 at the thoracic region we have 12 pairs which we call t1 to t12 at the lumbar region we have five pairs that we call l5 sorry l1 to l5 sacral region which is also 5 s1 to s5 and then right at the bottom.

We have one coccygeal nerve that we call cx1 and that’s how we label it through from the cervical down to the coccygeal now if we were going to just quickly wipe this off if we wanted to have a look at the spinal cord itself so if we were to cut into the spinal cord for example around about here and then have a bird’s eye view into it this is what we’re going to find so remember there’s going to be sensory and motor signals so we’re going to have sensory coming in and motor signals going out now here’s an important point all sensory information coming into the spinal cord always moves through the back.

so this is going to be the back this is going to be the front right bird’s eye view in all sensor information moves through the back and what that also means is that all motor information will move out the front important very important here’s the other thing this area here we call gray matter and this is where if a neuron needs to talk to another neuron so transmit or pass on information it does it here all this area outside is what we call white matter and all they are are highways they’re just tracks they send information up and down the spine up and down the spine so importantly what we need to find is that when sensor information comes in it needs to get to the brain so that means it needs to jump into these tracks or these highways.

so where are the highways for sensation well we’ve got some here for example and what this means is that some of this sensory information can jump into these white matter tracks and transmit that information up to the brain for here it’s going up there and going up there okay another area for sensor information to get to the brain is here and this information is going to be traveling up to the brain as well now your question may be why are there two different areas for sensor information well it’s because up here we’re sending information to the brain about fine touch fine touch and also something called proprioception proprioception is just knowing where an organ or structure of your body is within its own space this fine touch proprioception to the brain this is for pain and temperature right here pain and temperature so they travel to the brain via different tracks that’s going to be important for later lectures later videos what about for motor signals coming out well remember they’re coming down from the brain down from the brain to exit so that means they need to be traveling down these white matter tracks and these white matter tracks are located here and here and again that’s going to be on both sides.

as well so informations ┬áis coming down from the brain motor information these white matter tracks and then what they do is they jump into this gray matter here and then exit so what are these for well this one here is primarily for limbs arms and legs and this one here is for the trunk for the trunk so the reason why i’m telling you this is because it’s important because when there’s damage to the spinal cord for whatever particular reason specific areas that are damaged so specific tracks that are damaged can manifest in different ways so this is a nice quick introduction to the spinal cord

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