Dermatomes are areas of the body where sensory nerves reside near the skin. They’re supplied by a single nerve root, making them important markers on the body when it comes to diagnosing nerve impediments or pain. For example, if a particular part of the body is experiencing pain and there’s no acute cause to behold, the dermatome and subsequent nerve root for that area can be considered when qualifying the source of the pain.
Chiropractic frequently considers dermatomes and their role as an indicator for nerve health. Because all nerves must pass through the spine as part of the central nervous system, dermatomes often act as markers for spinal assessment.
At Ideal Spine Health Center in Boise, ID, we heed the warnings dermatomes often provide, allowing us to explore spinal conditions that may not always be considered by other chiropractors.
Know your dermatomes
There are ~30 total dermatomes to be observed on the human body, their corresponding nerves rooting back through all major segments of the spine:
- 8 cervical nerves;
- 12 thoracic nerves;
- 5 lumber nerves;
- 5 sacral nerves.
In pairing dermatomes with the nerves that feed them, a chiropractor can observe a pathology that may indicate trouble in the spine – nerve compression, for example. Some of the most commonly affected dermatomes are actually critical for diagnosing early stages of bigger spinal problems, including the following:
- The C2 dermatome encompasses the back of the head and the base of the skull. Pain in this region can indicate emerging conditions like “text neck.”
- The C5 dermatome exists proximally to the elbow. Radial pain in this region can indicate disc compressions in the spine, as well as a bulging disc.
- T6-T12 dermatomes encompass the whole of the abdominal region. Pain expressed in this area can indicate a wide manner of compressions, subluxations, or disc degenerations throughout the thoracic spine.
- L2 and L3 dermatomes focus on the back of the leg and buttocks. Pain in these areas is usually classified as sciatic, signaling to a chiropractor the need for lumbar-focused adjustments.
Because dermatomes present with referred pain, they’re often misdiagnosed during initial consultations. Generally, only a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP)-trained chiropractor will associate dermatome pain with spinal nerve compression early on. This is much in part to the radiological imaging that comes with a CBP consultation.
Following the path of pain
In tracing referred pain from a dermatome, to the root nerve, to the areas of the spine it passes through, a chiropractor is able to address the core cause of pain. Whereas other medical professionals will focus on treating symptoms, a CBP-trained chiropractor will first work to qualify symptoms vs. conditions, to ensure the right approach to care is administered.
At Ideal Spine Health Center, our CBP-trained chiropractors realize the interconnected nature of the body and the role the spine plays at the center of it all. When patients present with dermatome pain, we immediately seek to trace that pain, while also evaluating the condition of your spine. Using CBP methodologies, we strive to provide our patients with complete relief, instead of just a treatment for symptoms.
If you’re suffering from unexplained pain, get in touch with us today for a free evaluation. We can evaluate your spine health, dermatomes and all, to determine if that pain is indeed being referred from your spine.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.