The spinal cord controls the voluntary muscles of the trunk and limbs and receives sensory input from these areas. It extends from the medulla oblongata to the lower border of the first lumbar vertebra. A basic knowledge of spinal cord anatomy is essential for interpretation of clinical signs and symptoms and for understanding of pathologic processes involving the spinal cord. In this article, anatomic structures are correlated with relevant clinical signs and symptoms and a step-wise approach to spinal cord diagnosis is outlined.
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