Dermatomes are areas of the skin that a particular spinal nerve is responsible for. This spinal nerve carries information to the brain about the sensations you feel on that part of the body. Any altered feeling from normal such as numbness, tingling, burning or pain can be a sign that these spinal nerves are irritated or under mechanical pressure. Knowing which part of the spine is responsible for what area of the body helps our chiropractors determine the most efficient way to help the body restore that function.
These spinal nerves are assigned a letter and number to help us determine where they are originating from. The letters assigned are related to one of the four regions of the spine.
C = Cervical (Neck)
T = Thoracic (Upper & Mid back)
L = Lumbar (Low back)
S = Sacrum (Fused bones below the low back and above the tail bone)
The numbers start from 1 and increase in order until the last nerve for that region is accounted for. The number of nerves that exit each region of the spine varies. For instance, the numbers go from 1 to 8 in the cervical spine (neck) whereas they go from 1 to 12 in the thoracic spine (upper & mid back).
For the purpose of this discussion, we will only highlight the different spinal nerves that control the relaying of information from the arms and legs (upper and lower limbs).
Have a look at these images:
When was the last time you experienced altered feeling in one of these regions? Has it been persistent or progressive? We would be happy to help if you are curious and want to discuss this further!