Spinal cord

The spinal cord continues from the base of the brain and travels down the length of the spine. It carries voluntary signals from the brain to the muscles – telling them how and when to move. Nerves run from the skin to the brain carrying information about touch, temperature and pain. The cord also carries nerve impulses from our automatic nervous system over which we have little control (known as the autonomic system). The autonomic system is involved in things such as pulse rate, blood pressure control and digestion. Nerves come off the spinal cord at all levels between the vertebrae and travel throughout the body delivering or collecting information.