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Articles Posted in Paralysis/Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal Cord Injury Location Can Make a DifferenceWhen people talk about a ‘spinal cord injury’, it is important to establish where the injury took place on the spinal cord. Because different specialists explain an injury using different terminology, you may feel more confused after having met with several specialists than you would otherwise.

Understanding basic spinal cord anatomy

In order to have a better understanding of what you are being told and to clear up any confusion, you have to understand basic spinal anatomy. Remember that the spinal cord and the spine itself are two different structures. The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain to just above the tailbone and is a series of fibers and nerve cells. It has some protection because of the bony vertebrae of the spine.

Recovery from a spinal cordThere are approximately 400,000 people throughout the United States living with the effects of spinal cord injury (SCI) at any given time. Even though statistics show that spinal cord injuries are more prevalent amongst males, anyone who is involved in an accident could experience a spinal cord injury at any given time.

Two different types of SCI

When talking about spinal cord injuries, there are two different types. These include the complete spinal cord injury (meaning the patient loses complete lack of function any lower than their injury) and the incomplete spinal cord injury (there is some feeling and sensation below the injury). The degree and level of functioning is dependent upon the patient and in which way and how severely the spinal cord was damaged.

paralyzed patients in wheelchairsParalysis means the loss of muscle function in a part of the body.  If the paralysis is caused by a spinal cord injury (SCI), it is further classified as a complete or an incomplete injury.

A complete paralysis injury is where the spinal cord cannot convey any messages to the body below the injury, resulting in a complete loss of sensory and motor function.  An incomplete injury is where the spinal cord can still convey some messages to and from the body below the injury.

Spinal cord injuries are also classified by the level of the injury (also known as a lesion), which refers to the spinal cord segment where the injury occurred.  In the United States, about 1,275,000 people have suffered spinal cord injuries (men account for 61% of all SCIs).  And about 5,596,000 people in the United States have suffered some form of paralysis.