Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)

What is Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord with resulting changes in sensation, movement, and other body functions below the affected area. SCI can be a result of traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports injuries, stroke, or tumors, and can cause temporary or permanent changes including impaired sensation or paralysis.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury

The symptoms of spinal cord injury vary depending on the severity of the injury and the location. In some cases, the injury may be mild and consist of pain or numbness in the neck or lower back, while in more severe cases, paralysis, loss of sensation, loss of bowel and bladder control, and difficulty breathing may occur.

Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

The effects of SCI depend on the location and severity of the injury. Depending on these factors, the effects can range from mild to severe. In general, individuals with SCI may experience the following effects:

  • Paralysis - Depending on the severity of the injury, individuals may experience partial or complete paralysis of affected body parts.
  • Loss of Sensation - Loss of feeling or sensation could occur in the affected area.
  • Pain and Spasm - A SCI can cause pain and involuntary spasms in the affected area.
  • Bowel and Bladder Problems - Injury to the spinal cord may cause bowel and bladder issues.
  • Breathing Problems - In severe cases, an SCI can cause impaired breathing.


The treatment for SCI depends on the severity of the injury and the specific symptoms that an individual is experiencing. Treatment may include physical therapy, medications to manage pain and spasms, occupational therapy, and adaptive devices to compensate for any impaired bodily functions. Additionally, counseling may be recommended to help the individual and their family adjust to the changes associated with SCI.