The peripheral nerves reside in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The peripheral nerves basically connect the brain and the spinal cord to the limbs and organs.
The main responsibility of the body’s entire nervous system is to send, receive, and process information throughout all parts of the body. The nervous system is made up of two parts – the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the central nervous system (CNS). The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system – and its peripheral nerves – carry information to and from the central nervous system.
Peripheral nerves can be:
- Sensory nerves – These peripheral nerves send information from the limbs and organs to the central nervous system. For example, if you touch something hot, sensory nerves would send signals from the hand to the spinal cord and brain so that you could percieve the heat and the brain could be aware of the situation
- Motor nerves – These nerves carry information from the brain and spinal cord to the organs and limbs. Using the above example, after the brain realized you touched something hot, the brain would send a signal (via the motor nerves) to muscles in your shoulder, arm, and hand; telling the muscles to move your hand because you might get burned.
The spinal cord is the body’s information superhighway, and it helps the brain communicate with the peripheral nerves. Protected by the spinal column, the spinal cord sends out signals to the peripheral nerves through nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord. Nerve roots travel through foramina, or openings, in the spinal column, and these nerves extend outward to the peripheries of the body, hence the peripheral nerves.
Any pain that is a result of dysfunctional peripheral nerves is called peripheral neuropathy. This pain can include the following:
- Radicular, or radiating, pain down the arms and legs (called radiculopathy)
- Acute skin sensitivity
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are very similar to spinal conditions like spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, bulging discs, and arthritis of the spine, so it’s important to get a correct diagnosis so that you can receive appropriate treatment for nerve disorders.
If you have been diagnosed with a spinal condition and the treatments you have tried are not relieving your pain, contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI). We offer revolutionary outpatient, endoscopic procedures that can help you rediscover a life without pain. For more information and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan, contact LSI today.