Spinal Nerves: Terminology

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Terms for Pathologies of the Meninges & Head

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Sensory, Motor,&…
  • 0:22 Peripheral Nervous System
  • 0:44 Spinal Nerve Nomenclature
  • 1:40 Spinal Nerve Function
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson outlines the locations, names, and general functions of the spinal nerves related to the skin, muscles, joints, and internal organs as well as sensation.

Sensory, Motor, and Autonomic Signals

Move your leg. Now, pinch your arm. Did you feel that pain? The motor and sensory signals that are carried between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body partially rely on the spinal nerves of the peripheral nervous system. Here, we're going to discuss their nomenclature and location.

Peripheral Nervous System and Spinal Nerves

The peripheral nervous system is the portion of the nervous system that extends away from the center of the body and is located outside of the brain and spinal cord. One major part of this system are the spinal nerves, 31 pairs of nerves connected to the spinal cord that are numbered at the level at which they emerge and are named based on the area of the body they innervate.

Spinal Nerve Nomenclature and Location

As I just said, the spinal nerves are named for the region of the body they innervate. There are eight cervical pairs of spinal nerves. The term cervical comes from 'cervico-', which means neck. So, these guys innervate the neck.

Below them are 12 thoracic pairs of spinal nerves. 'Thoraco-' stands for the chest. So, these guys innervate the region of the chest.

After the thoracic spinal nerves come five lumbar pairs of spinal nerves. Have you ever heard of lumbar support? What region of the body does this refer to? It's the lower back, and that's where these spinal nerves come out of.

Then there are five sacral pairs of spinal nerves. The sacrum is a triangular bone right below the lumbar vertebrae. The sacral spinal nerves originate from the spinal cord at the level of this bone. Finally, there is one lonely pair of coccygeal spinal nerves, which lies over the coccyx, or tailbone.

Spinal Nerve Function

As I sort of implied in my intro, the spinal nerves serve two general functions:

  • They relay sensory information to the central nervous system
  • And they send motor signals to the regions of the body they innervate

In fact, there are four general types of functional components to the spinal nerves. They include:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account