The 30 Dermatomes Explained and Located You Should Know
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A dermatome is a patch of skin that is only served by one of the spinal nerves. The sensory, motor and autonomic information that is collected from the rest of your body and transmitted to your central nervous system is assisted in its transmission by the spinal nerves (CNS).
What are the benefits of having dermatomes? What is the total number? And where exactly might one locate them? Keep reading and you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.
The meaning of dermatomes in context
A single spinal nerve is responsible for supplying the information needed by each of your dermatomes. Both of these aspects of the body will get a more in-depth examination in the following paragraphs.
Your nerves in the spinal column
The spinal nerves are a component of the peripheral nervous system of the human body (PNS). Your peripheral nervous system (PNS) serves as the connection between the rest of your body and your central nervous system (CNS), which is comprised of your brain and spinal cord.
You have 31 different nerve pairs in your spinal column. They originate from the nerve roots, which are extensions that branch off of your spinal cord. Spinal nerves get their names and are organized into groups based on the part of the spine that they are connected to.
The following are the five groups of spinal nerves:
Nerves in the cervical spine These nerves in the neck are known as the cervical nerves, and there are eight pairs of them. They are numbered C1 through C8. They come from the area around your neck.
Nerves in the thoracic spine You have 12 pairs of thoracic nerves, which are numbered from T1 to T12, and they run down the thoracic spine. They have their genesis in the portion of your spine that is responsible for making up your torso.
Lumbar nerves. There are five pairs of nerves that exit the spine at the lumbar region, and they are called L1 through L5. They originate in the region of your spine that is responsible for the formation of your lower back.
Sacral nerves. You also have five pairs of sacral spinal nerves, similar to how you have five pairs of lumbar spinal nerves. They are connected to the sacrum, which is one of the bones that can be found in the pelvis of a human body.
Nerves are located in the coccyx. There is just one set of coccygeal spinal nerves present in your body. These two nerves have their origin in the region of your coccyx, also known as your tailbone.
One of your dermatomes is connected to just one of your spinal nerves at all times. These nerves are responsible for relaying feelings, such as pain, from a particular region of your skin to your central nervous system.
There are thirty dermatomes in your body. It’s possible that you’ve observed this is one fewer than the number of spinal nerves. This occurs as a result of the fact that the C1 spinal nerve often lacks a sensory root. As a direct consequence of this, dermatomes start at spinal nerve C2.
Your body is covered with dermatomes, which are organized in a segmented pattern. The precise pattern of dermatomes might truly differ from one individual to the next. There is also a possibility of there being overlap between adjacent dermatomes.
Your dermatomes that are related to your torso and core are dispersed horizontally. This is due to the fact that the spinal nerves that exit your spine do so laterally. When seen on a body map, they appear to be stacked discs in a very similar fashion.
The dermatome pattern of the limbs is a little bit different from the rest of the body. This is because the limbs have a different shape from the rest of the body than the rest of the body does. In most cases, the dermatomes that are connected to your limbs go in a vertical direction along the long axis of the limbs, such as down your leg.
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Where exactly may each dermatome be found?
Your dermatomes are given numbers that correspond to the spinal nerves that they are connected to. In the following paragraphs, we will describe each dermatome as well as the part of the body that corresponds to it.
Keep in mind that the precise area that a particular dermatome may cover can vary from person to person. It’s also feasible that there will be some overlap. As a result, you should think of the framework that is provided below as a broad guide.
Cervical spinal nerves
- C2 refers to the lower jaw and the rear of the skull
- C3 refers to the back and upper part of the head.
- C4: the back of the head and the tops of the shoulders
- C5: the region encompassing the collarbones and the upper shoulders
- C6: shoulders, the lateral aspect of the arm, and the thumb
- C7 includes the back of the arm, the pointer finger, and the middle finger.
- C8 corresponds to the middle of the back, the inside of the arm, the ring, and the little finger.
Nerves in the thoracic spine
- T1 encompasses the upper chest and back, the armpit, and the front of the arm.
- T2: the back and the upper chest
- T3: the back and the upper chest
- T4 refers to the upper chest (the nipple region), as well as the back.
- T5: chest in the middle and back
- T6: chest and back in the middle
- T7: chest and back in the middle
- T8: upper abdomen and mid-back
- T9: upper abdomen and mid-back
- T10: the area around the abdominal button and the middle of the back
- T11: the abdomen and the middle of the back
- T12: the middle of the back and the lower abdomen
Lumbar spinal nerves
- L1 refers to the groyne, hips, and lower back.
- L2 refers to the front, lower back, and interior of the thigh.
- L3 refers to the front, center, and lower parts of the thigh.
- L4 refers to the lower back, the front of the thigh and calf, the area around the knee, and the inside of the ankle.
- The lower back, front and outside of the calf, top, and bottom of the foot, and the first four toes are included in the L5 region.
Sacral spinal nerves
- S1: lower back, back of the thigh, back and inside of the calf, and the very tip of the very last toe
- S2 includes the vaginal region, the buttocks, the back of the thigh, and the calf.
- S3: buttocks, genitals
- S4: buttocks
- S5: buttocks
Coccygeal spinal nerves
buttocks, the region around the tailbone
What are the benefits of having dermatomes?
The ability of dermatomes to aid in the evaluation and diagnosis of a wide range of disorders is one reason for their significance. For example, symptoms that manifest themselves along a particular dermatome may be an indication that there is a problem with a particular nerve root in the spine.
The following are some examples of this:
Radiculopathies. This term refers to circumstances in which a nerve root in the spine is crushed or pinched. Related terms include “pinched nerve” and “compressed nerve.” Pain, weakness, and tingling feelings are all potential symptoms of this condition. Radiculopathies can cause pain that travels along a single or several dermatomes. Sciatica is one of the manifestations of radiculopathy.
Shingles. Shingles are caused by the reawakening of the varicella-zoster virus, also known as the chickenpox virus. This virus normally stays latent in the nerve roots of your body. Symptoms of shingles, including pain and a rash, manifest themselves along dermatomes that are connected with the nerve root that is damaged.
Dermatomes are regions of the skin that are each related to a different spinal neuron. You have 30 dermatomes and 31 spinal nerves in your body. It’s possible for each dermatome to cover a little varied amount of territory on various people.
Spinal nerves play an important role in the transmission of information from various regions of the body to the central nervous system. As a consequence of this, every dermatome is responsible for sending the sensory information collected from a specific region of the skin to the brain.
In some cases, disorders that affect the spine or the nerve roots can be evaluated and diagnosed with the assistance of dermatomes. The presence of symptoms along a particular dermatome can provide guidance to medical professionals regarding the potential region of the spine that is being damaged.