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Spinal cord

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

The spinal cord is the part of the nervous system that carries messages to and from the brain. It is found within the vertebrae, which are the bony discs that make up the spinal column. Normally, the vertebrae protect the spinal cord. When that doesn't happen, a spinal cord injury can occur. In addition to lesions, the following may appear in the spinal cord:

  • Tumors

  • Infections such as meningitis and polio

  • inflammatory diseases

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Degenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy

Symptoms vary but can include pain, numbness, loss of sensation, and muscle weakness. These symptoms can occur around the spinal cord and also in other areas, such as the arms and legs. Treatments vary, but often include medicine and surgery.

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