Understanding the Anatomy of Nerve Pain

Source: Spine Health

The nervous system is a complex body system that can result in pain when nerve signals become dysfunctional. The spinal cord is responsible for sending signs from the brain to the nerves all over the body. Exactly 31 pairs of spinal nerves exit the spinal cord via an opening located between the vertebrae. Once the spinal nerve exits the spinal cord, they are referred to as a nerve root. These nerve roots then branch out into peripheral nerves and control different parts of the body.

Peripheral nerves are classified as either motor nerves or sensory nerves. Motor nerves extend to the muscles and stimulate muscle contraction and movement. They are comprised of nerve fibers called motor fibers. Sensory nerves are nerves that receive signals that tell us how we feel, such as temperature or pain. They are made up of sensory fibers. Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to any part of the peripheral nerves or the central nervous system.

Neuropathy usually begins in the longest nerves of the body, such as the feet and hands. As the disease progresses, it moves up the arms and legs. Many structures in the spine may contribute to pain, including smaller nerves that are weaved into the spine and larger nerve roots that stretch to the arms and legs. Lumbar herniated disc is a common form of nerve pain that occurs when the vertebrae press against the spinal nerve root. Once the nerves become damaged, abnormal signals are sent from the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system to the brain.

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