What are spinal nerve roots?

Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine
The spinal cord is the largest group of nerves found inside the spinal column. The spinal nerve roots are group of nerves that come directly off the spinal cord in right and left pairs of two. There are thirty-one pairs that exit the spinal column between each set of vertebrae and then travel to the rest of your body. Because nerve roots are so important for the transfer of information to and from the spinal cord, they are housed primarily within the spinal column. They represent the transition between the spinal cord and your outer nerves, and they occupy the spaces between each vertebra, from which they ultimately exit. Because this is also the joint space created by a disc and two vertebrae, on rare occasions nerve roots can become impinged by herniated discs or excessive bone growth. These conditions are very painful, but direct nerve root impingement occurs in less than 5 percent of neck and back pain patients.
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