Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
The spinal cord is part of the most complex system of the human body, the central nervous system. A SCI is a result
of a traumatic incident or disease, which subsequently causes injury to sensory and motor function. Sensory loss refers to the loss of sensations, such as pain, touch, or temperature. Motor loss refers to muscle weakness and the inability to use the body. Trauma to the spinal cord damages nerve fibers passing through the injured area and may affect all or part of the corresponding
Spinal cord injury interferes with communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
muscles and nerves below the injury site. Consequently, the injury interferes with communication between the brain and the rest of the body. A SCI is usually the result of damage to the vertebral column. The spine can be either fractured or dislocated. A person can
have a “broken back,” however, without sustaining a spinal cord injury. Because the spine is longer than the spinal cord, the level of the injury to the spine may be different from the SCI it causes. The lasting effects of a SCI depend upon the level and type of injury. Just like individuals, no two spinal cord injuries are alike. Classifications and Diagnoses
No two spinal cord injuries are alike.
The level of SCI determines what parts of the body might be affected by paralysis and loss of function. The level of injury refers to the lowest point on the spinal cord where there is a decrease or absence of motor and/or sensory function. Generally speaking, the higher the spinal cord injury, the more effect the injury has on movement and/or feeling. For example, an injury of the cervical spinal cord may result in full paralysis and make it impossible to breathe without a respirator, while an injury of the lumbar spinal cord may result in paralysis or
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