Revive Rehab Physiotherapy

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury

The severity of a spinal cord injury (SCI) depends on the affected part of the spinal cord. The higher the SCI on the vertebral column, the more it impacts body movement and sensation. Generally, injuries at lower levels retain more movement, feeling, and voluntary control.

Rehabilitation focuses on easing daily living activities, including self-care, mobility, locomotion, sphincter control, and communication. Activity-based therapy involves training for bed-to-wheelchair transfers, gait training with walkers or harnesses, stair navigation, improving bladder control, and building upper body strength and conditioning.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are categorized as complete or incomplete:

Complete Injury

Total loss of feeling and control below the injury.

Incomplete Injury

Partial feeling or control below the injury.

The injury type also depends on its location along the spinal cord, which is divided into four sections:

Each section controls different body parts, with injuries typically resulting in loss of control and feeling below the injury site.

Cervical Spine Injury

The cervical spine, located in the neck, is closest to the brain and affects the largest body portion. Injuries here often cause tetraplegia (quadriplegia), resulting in partial or full paralysis of all four limbs and the torso.

Thoracic Spine Injury

The thoracic spine, in the upper and middle back, affects muscles in the abdomen, legs, and lower back. Injuries often lead to paraplegia, causing paralysis in parts of the trunk and legs while retaining arm and hand function.

Lumbar Spine Injury

The lumbar spine, in the lower back, supports more weight, leading to larger vertebrae. Injuries here may cause loss of function in the hips and legs, but upper body control is typically retained. Some individuals may walk with braces or use a wheelchair.

Sacral Spine Injury

The sacral spine, just above the tailbone, controls the hips, groin, and backs of the thighs. Injuries can result in loss of function in these areas and affect bladder and bowel control. However, many people with sacral spine injuries can still walk.

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