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Spinal Cord Injury

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is an injury to any part of the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that carries signals from the brain to rest of the body. A spinal cord injury can occur due to a direct injury to the spinal cord or to damage to the bones or tissues around the spinal cord. The damage can cause temporary or permanent changes to body function below the level of the injury. Spinal cord injuries can be classified as complete or incomplete.

  • A complete injury means that no nerve signals go past the level of the injury

  • An incomplete injury means that some nerve signals do travel past the level of the injury, so some sensation and muscle function is preserved

Symptoms of SCI

  • Loss of or changes in sensation

  • Impaired strength and control of muscle function

  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

  • Exaggerated reflexes 

  • Muscle spasms

  • Changes in sexual function

  • Pain

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Resources for SCI