Spinal cord is the bundle of the spinal nerves enclosed in the spinal canal. The spinal cord originates from the base of the brain and runs through the spinal canal branching off at the bottom like a horse's tail. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves make up the spinal cord and function to transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord is protected by a thick sheath of membranes and the bony structures of the vertebral column. When the nerves of the spinal cord are irritated or compressed, the condition will often result in radiculopathy. Severe damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent nerve damage causing partial or total paralysis.