The Spinal Cord and the Spinal Nerves
This chapter provides a detailed description of the anatomy and functions of the spinal cord and
spinal nerves. The protection provided by the vertebral column and the meninges is explained.
The external anatomy and the internal anatomy of the spinal cord are portrayed in fine detail. The
functions of the spinal cord are explained; the characteristics and roles of sensory tracts, motor
tracts, and reflexes are explained. The 31 pairs of spinal nerves are identified and their protective
coverings and their attachments to the spinal cord are described. The distribution of spinal nerves
(i.e., branches, plexuses, and intercostal nerves) is portrayed. The dermatomes of the body are
described. This chapter concludes with a list of key medical terms associated with the spinal cord
and spinal nerves, a thorough study outline, an excellent self-quiz, critical thinking questions, and
answers to questions that accompany chapter figures.
1. Describe the protective coverings of the spinal cord.
2. Describe the external and internal anatomy of the spinal cord.
3. Describe the functions of the principal sensory and motor tracts of the spinal cord.
4. Describe the functional components of a reflex arc and how reflexes contribute to
5. Describe the components, connective tissue coverings, and branches of a spinal nerve.
6. Define a plexus, and identify the distribution of nerves of the cervical, brachial, lumbar and
7. Describe the clinical significance of dermatomes.