Spinal Cord and Endings
The spinal cord is a delicate structure. It is protected by the neural arch of the vertebrae and also by the intervertebral discs anteriorly and the ligamentum flava posteriorly.
Below the thoracic region, the spinal cord comes to an end, namely called the conus medullaris, and continues as a cauda equina coming from the name of a horse’s tail.
Dynamic Disc Designs create models that demonstrate this anatomy including the exiting lumbar nerve roots which include the re-current menningeal nerve, the gray rami communicantes as well as the posterior primary division that exhibit the medial branches from the facet joints. Each exiting nerve root contains both an anterior motor division and a posterior sensory division that includes the dorsal root ganglion. Encroachment syndromes can present patients with tingling downstream which likely indicates sensory compression while weakness usually indicates a motor compression. Having a model with more anatomical detail helps in the determination of the spinal anatomy in question–targeting treatment.
The lumbar vertebra model includes the cauda equina which includes the dura mater, arachnoid, and pia layers. These are the important coverings of the spinal cord because just inside these coverings is the cerebral spinal fluid.
Dynamic Disc Designs offers models to help in the management of spinal cord encroachment syndromes. Disc herniation can compress the cord in the cervical and thoracic spine region while it can compress elements of the cauda equina in the lumbar region. Other space occupying lesions can affect the cord and create a variety of sensory or motor disturbances.
Doctors of chiropractic and other spine specialties like minimally invasive surgeons /spine surgeons use patient education as part of the work-up towards initiating treatment. An accurate spinal model can aid the risk management of outcomes that may include spinal canal compression. Having patients better informed can lead to better outcomes.