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Spinal Cord - definition

Spinal Cord or Cord

The spinal cord, along with the brain, makes up the central nervous system. For the most part, the spinal cord processes information from body before it is sent on to the brain for decision making, but some basic decisions are made by the spinal cord; we call these basic decisions reflexes.

What is the relevance to CSM?

The spinal cord lives within the spinal canal. It is narrowing of the spinal canal, which causes compression of the spinal cord and CSM.

The spinal cord is internally extremely organised. If you look at a thin slice of spinal cord, it is possible to map the part of the body it controlls.

This is of interest in CSM, as the area controlling arm function is slightly closer to the edge of the cord and in a position where a degenerating surround structure, such as a disc or osteophyte, are more likely to press.

This explains why common early symptoms of CSM are hand/arm symptoms. However later on, it can progress to affect the legs.