Spinal Cord Injuries
The human spinal column is one of the most vital areas of the body, providing a structural foundation for your limbs and protecting your organs. Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) involve trauma to the spinal column, usually as the result of a sudden, intense blow. This trauma can also herniate discs and dislocate or fracture the vertebrae in your back and neck. Displaced disc material, ligaments, or bone fragments often compress vertebrae and lacerate spinal cord tissue, destroying the axons in your spine that transmit signals between the brain and the rest of your body. This trauma can result in bruising, fracturing, or even the total severing of your spine.
Spinal cord injuries occupy two categories, known as complete spinal cord injuries or incomplete spinal cord injuries. Complete spinal cord injuries cause a total loss of motor function and sensation from the injured area continuing down the length of spine. Incomplete injuries allow for some level of sensation and function. Damage to the spinal cord can result in a wide variety of symptoms, including pain, weakness, diminished or lost sensations, and changes in sexual function, sensitivity, and fertility. Some injuries cause chronic pain for the rest of your life, permanent nerve damage, or even paralysis.