Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://www.spinalinjury.net/html/_anatomy_of_a_spinal_cord.html

It is very important for us to know the spinal cord anatomy in order for us to truly appreciate the beauty of its design and mechanism. The spinal cord is actually an extension of the brain. It acts as a super highway for millions upon millions of neural impulses that travel to and from the brain. Because of the spinal cord, we are able to control voluntary muscles and feel cutaneous sensations such as warmth, cold, pain, and so on, and so forth. This article will show you the different aspects of spinal cord.

 Overview of the Spinal Cord Anatomy

The spinal cord is housed by the spinal column. Without the spinal column, the spinal cord would be vulnerable to injury. Furthermore, the spinal cord anatomy is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid which serves as a shock absorber and nutrient-carrying modality. The diameter of the spinal cord is about the size of a finger and is composed of 33 spinal cord segments. These segments are named after their location and corresponding region of the spinal column.

  • Cervical nerves - Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://www.painneck.com/cervical-nervesCervical nerves – 8 cervical segments
  • Thoracic nerves - Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://msjensen.cehd.umn.edu/webanatomy/nervous/nerv_spinal_nervs_1_answers.htmThoracic nerves – 12 thoracic segments
  • Lumbar nerves - Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://www.taiwanspinecenter.com.tw/tsc_e/web/00_anatomy/01anatomy_9.htmLumbar nerves – 5 lumbar segments
  • Sacral nerves - Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://urology.jhu.edu/incontinence/urge_incontinence.phpSacral nerves – 5 sacral segments
  • Coccygeal nerves - Spinal Cord AnatomyCredit: http://www.chiropractic-help.com/Coccyx-pillow.htmlCoccygeal nerves – 3 coccygeal segments

The spinal cord basically has two tracts which are the descending and ascending spinal tracts. The descending tract carries neural impulses from the brain. These include impulses of controlling movement of the muscles. On the other hand, the ascending tract carries neural impulses to the brain which include pain, awareness of body parts’ position, temperature, touch, hearing, and other information from the senses.

General Characteristics of the Spinal Cord

Anatomy Spinal CordCredit: http://www.sci-recovery.org/sci.htm

The spinal cord connects the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system. The spinal cord originates from the foramen magnum and ends at the filum terminale. The spinal cord of men is 2 centimeters longer than women. There are two sites of enlargement of the spinal-cord. The first enlargement is located between C3 and T2 spinal segments. The next enlargement is found between L1 and S3 spinal segments. These enlargements serve as the site for sensory inputs.

Blood Supply of the Spinal Cord Anatomy

Anatomy of the Spinal CordCredit: http://nerdsonquads.wordpress.com/spinal-cord-injury/

There are three major arteries that supply the spinal-cord with the necessary oxygen and nutrients. These arteries originate from the brain and ends at the coccyx area. The first artery runs along the spinal-cord which is called the anterior spinal artery. The second and third arteries are called the posterior spinal arteries which are located at sides of the spinal-cord. These arteries are very vital for the continuity of the proper function and integrity of the spinal-cord anatomy.


The spinal-cord anatomy is greatly complex and intricate in design. It has different segments that correspond to specific functions.

The general characteristic of the spinal-cord is to connect the brain with the rest of the body. Studying the spinal-cord anatomy would help you to better appreciate the complexity of the human body.