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Everything You Need To Know About Spinal Cord Injury

 January 2, 2018

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

If you are sitting comfortably while reading this, it is due in no small part to the proper functioning of your spinal cord. Think about the fact that the spinal cord is the main pathway between your brain and the rest of your body and you might realize just how much you currently owe to the proper functioning of your spinal cord.

When a spinal cord injury occurs, vertebrae are fractured, broken or even crushed. Your body may never function properly again. Perhaps it is time you learned a bit more about your spinal cord and spinal cord injury.

Let’s start with a breakdown of your nervous system. Your brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system (CNS). The nerves that carry information to and from your muscles, organs and tissues are your peripheral nervous system (PNS). Your brain is connected to your PNS by your spinal cord. Any questions? Maybe these will help.

What are vertebrae?

Your spinal column, or back bone, is comprised of rings of bone that surround the spinal cord. These are vertebrae. They are named according to their location in the spinal column.

What is a cervical spinal cord injury?

There are seven cervical vertebrae in your beck. A cervical spinal cord injury can cause loss of function in both the arms and legs. This is known as tetraplegia.

What is a thoracic spinal cord injury?

Your back consists of twelve thoracic vertebrae. Thoracic spinal cord injuries generally affect your chest and legs.

What are lumbar and sacral spinal cord injuries?

Lumbar and sacral spinal cord injuries occur in the lower back. They affect the hips and legs, resulting in paraplegia.

What are the consequences of spinal cord injury?

Damage to the spinal cord can result in impairment or loss of:

  • Movement/Muscle ControlSpinal cord injury may cause your muscles to contract or atrophy from lack of use. You may not be able to move them at all.
  • Sensation Spinal cord injury may leave you unable to feel hot/cold, pressure, pain or sense of position. It can even result in an inability to regulate body temperature.
  • Organ System Control This usually refers to loss of bowel or bladder control. There may also be issues related to sexual function and fertility. You may need additional treatment to assist with pain related to the injury.

Causes of spinal cord injury include motor vehicle, falls, acts of violence and sporting accidents. Vertebrae is either fractured, broken or crushed. If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury and you wish to speak to our medical experts about care management, please contact us.

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