A Brief Guide to the Different Types of Spinal Cord Injury


Did you know that around 450,000 American’s are living with a spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injuries are usually caused when trauma occurs on the vertebral column. This affects or prevents messages from being sent and received between the brain and body.

But did you know that there are different types of spinal cord injury? It’s best not to generalize spinal cord injuries as they have different causes, symptoms, and treatments.

If you’d like to know more, read this guide to spinal cord injuries to find out.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury

A complete spinal cord injury (SCI) happens when there is major damage to the spinal cord. This causes the total loss of all motor and sensory functions below the injured area. These are the most severe types of injury and are one of the leading causes of paraplegia and quadriplegia.

The most common reason for a complete spinal cord injury is car accidents, closely followed by falls and gunshot wounds.

It’s virtually impossible to recover from a spinal cord injury without specialist care and treatment. Even with this care, most people will only regain one or two levels of muscle movement after rehab.

It’s important that the family of someone with a complete spinal cord injury also gets support. Caring for the injured can be a difficult situation, and external care services are often required.

However, there is hope for treatment through the use of stem cell therapies. Recent pioneering research shows that this treatment could be revolutionary. But, we’re still a few years off from it becoming a conventional treatment.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common. They happen when the spinal cord is compressed or damaged. However, it only partially compromises the cord, so the symptoms are usually less severe than a complete spinal cord injury.

These injuries account for more than half of all spinal cord injuries. They are broadly classified into several different types: anterior cord syndrome, central cord syndrome, and Brown-Sequard syndrome.

People with an incomplete spinal cord injury may simply complain of backache; others may have permanent limb numbness.

Treatment for a spinal cord injury that’s incomplete is far more promising. Many people can recover entirely when they follow expert advice about spinal cord injuries.

Physiotherapists, doctors, and surgeons can take a multidisciplinary approach to improve someone’s symptoms after an injury. The first step is to identify the location of the injury and understand why it’s causing those symptoms. Between imaging and clinical evaluation, it can be diagnosed.

The Types of Spinal Cord Injury Explained

That’s everything you need to know about the different types of spinal cord injury. Understanding the differences between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries will help you in every aspect of conversation about SCI’s.

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