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What is a Dermatome?

Do you have back pain?

Do you know why we can get pain down the leg, for instance, when we are told that there is a herniated disc in the lower back? Or why we might have tingling in the fingers but doctors examine your neck?

This is due to something called Dermatomes. It is an area of the skin where sensation is provided by a spinal nerve. There is a dermatome associated with each level in the spine - neck to tailbone. There is a map associated with this - have a look, it looks somewhat futuristic... it is extremely useful in diagnostics and understanding of your own symptoms.

For example, someone with an L4/L5 issue is likely to have referred discomfort on the side of the lower leg. This is a branch of the sciatic nerve.

Why is this also relevant? So that we know not to massage out the site of the pain down the leg, or arm, etc. - as this will not be the issue.

With the right approach - understanding your movements, finding a better way to move, working on posture, on the underlying causes that keeps your body on alert, working to release held tension patterns - the discs can heal! So you will have a reduction of symptoms down your body.

Everyone is individual - but movement helps us all. Resting if we have pain, which used to be commonly prescribed years ago, is hopelessly outdated. The body loves to move.

Dermatome maps are not precise as we are all made slightly differently - so they are guides. Use them as such, but by and large, they should be helpful.

If you have a herniated disc and are looking to heal it, feel more confident in your movements and have less discomfort, message me for a chat.

To your health in movement.


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