Spinal cord diseases, peripheral & cranial nerve diseases

Spinal cord diseases:

Spinal cord is a structure that extends from skull to the center of back. This column of nerve tissues is surrounded by three layers. Spinal cord is surrounded by vertebrae. Spinal cord is divided into different segments according to their location. Cervical segment is called cervical spine. Thoracic segment of vertebrae is named as thoracic spine. Lumbar vertebrae segment is known as lumbar spine. Sacral region is known as sacral spine. Spinal cord diseases are discussed below:

Spinal cord diseases

Cervical spondylosis:

With age, degenerative changes occur in spine. Due to degeneration shape of vertebrae deforms. Brachial plexus originating from cervical region is compressed. Patient feels numbness and tingling sensation in his arm and hands. This degeneration of vertebrae is termed as cervical spondylosis. The nerve filaments originating from spinal cord are known as radicals. Compression of nerve filaments due to cervical spondylosis is termed as cervical radiculopathy. If vertebrae move backwards and compress spinal cord, both upper limb and lower limb get affected it is termed as cervical myelopathy. Patient have hyper tone, hyper reflexes, rigid limbs. MRI is used as confirmatory examination. Urgent surgical intervention is performed to release cervical spine from vertebrae.

Cervical spondylosisCervical radiculopathy.
Degeneration of vertebrae Compression of nerve
numbness and tingling sensationmotor and sensory loss in that area
NSAIDs, corticosteroids NSAIDs, anticonvulsant
Physiotherapycervical radicular decompression

Lumbar spondylosis:

Thoracic spine is safe unlike cervical and lumbar spine degeneration. Vertebrae degeneration in lumbar spine is termed as lumbar spondylosis. Usually spinal cord is just to end here. So, network of nerves is present here called cauda equina. In due to compression the nerve fibers escapes. But if disc herniation occurs and nerve is compressed then symptoms appear in legs along with that bowel bladder disturbance occurs. X-RAY is performed for confirmation. If nerve is not compressed then conservative treatment is enough to heal the affected area, In case of nerve compression, surgical discectomy or nerve decompression is the possible solution.

Lumbar canal stenosis:

Lumbar stenosis is caused due to the compression of foramina. Nerves are compressed, at rest patient do not feel pain but while exertion he experiences numbness and tingling sensation in foot. MRI is performed for diagnostic examination. Decompression of nerve is performed by neurosurgeon.

Spinal cord compression:

Trauma or slipping of vertebrae into spinal cord can cause spinal cord compression. Vertebral tumor, meningioma or metastatic cells can also cause compression of spinal cord. If cervical spine is involved both upper limbs are affected. In thoracic spine lower area is affected, In lumbar spine involvement, legs are affected along with bowel bladder problems. X-RAY and MRI is performed. In case of mild compression conservative treatment is carried out. But, if massive compression is observed then neurosurgical intervention is the best solution.

Peripheral nerve diseases

Nerves originates from spinal cord and supplies the whole body directly or through plexus formation (lumbosacral, brachial plexus).


Any disease that affect peripheral nerves is termed as neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy. Diabetics, alcohol consumers, vitamin deficient and urea toxic patients are at more risk to develop peripheral neuropathy. In neuropathy symptoms appear in that area which is being supplied by that particular peripheral nerve. Like median nerve compression causes tingling sensation in that area, and causes carpal tunnel syndrome.


Patient complains weakness, numbness and tingling sensation in whole body. He experiences weakness in upper and lower limbs along with that bowel bladder dysfunction.

Cranial nerve diseases

Cranial nerves originate from brain. Like peripheral neuropathies, cranial neuropathies also exist. Most common of all cranial neuropathies is bell’s palsy.

Bell’s Palsy:

Cranial nerve VII supplies the facial muscles. In case of bell’s palsy one side of face is affected and muscle contraction on that side is lost. TENS, physical therapy exercises and steroids are used. Compression of hypoglossal nerve causes deviation of tongue. In case accessory nerve is involved, trapezius and sternocledomastoid function is lost. Damage of oculomotor nerve causes visual defects.

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