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Dermatome Patterns

Why is it that if you experience a tingling sensation in your toes, your specialists will most likely first examine your lower back? Afterall, it is your toes that you are experiencing problems with. So why do they check out your lower back?

This is because the nerve endings that are located in your toes branch off from your spine at specific places. In this case for the toes, the lower lumbar area of your spine. If the nerve is impigned or pressed on, you may experience sensations along the entire nerve down to your toes. This specific pattern of associating sensations in your toes with your lower lumbar spine and fingers with the spinal area in your neck is known as the Dermatome Pattern. Using this pattern, knowing where you experience pain away from the spine helps your specialists to trace back to the specific region on your spine for further examination.

Network Map of the Nerves

Almost every nerve in your body originally branches out your spine at specific places between the spinal vertebraes. This branching of nerve or the dorsal root from the spine has a particular area of skin that is associated with it. This pattern of skin and associate nerve root is known as the Dermatome pattern. (see image)

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