Spinal Cord Injury Information Page

Spinal Cord Injury Information Page


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What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts spinal cord research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Advances in research are giving doctors and patients hope that repairing injured spinal cords is a reachable goal.  Advances in basic research are also being matched by progress in clinical research, especially in understanding the kinds of physical rehabilitation that work best to restore function. Some of the more promising rehabilitation techniques are helping spinal cord injury patients become more mobile.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Injuries
 

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What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts spinal cord research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Advances in research are giving doctors and patients hope that repairing injured spinal cords is a reachable goal.  Advances in basic research are also being matched by progress in clinical research, especially in understanding the kinds of physical rehabilitation that work best to restore function. Some of the more promising rehabilitation techniques are helping spinal cord injury patients become more mobile.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Injuries
 

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts spinal cord research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Advances in research are giving doctors and patients hope that repairing injured spinal cords is a reachable goal.  Advances in basic research are also being matched by progress in clinical research, especially in understanding the kinds of physical rehabilitation that work best to restore function. Some of the more promising rehabilitation techniques are helping spinal cord injury patients become more mobile.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Injuries
 


Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord don't completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis

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Definition

A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord don't completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis

Treatment
Treatment

Improved emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities.  Respiratory complications are often an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury   About one-third of those with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing and require respiratory support. The steroid drug methylprednisolone appears to reduce the damage to nerve cells if it is given within the first 8 hours after injury.  Rehabilitation programs combine physical therapies with skill-building activities and counseling to provide social and emotional support. Electrical simulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices may restore specific functions, including bladder, breathing, cough, and arm or leg movements, though eligibility for use of these devices depends on the level and type of the spinal cord injury.

×
Treatment

Improved emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities.  Respiratory complications are often an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury   About one-third of those with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing and require respiratory support. The steroid drug methylprednisolone appears to reduce the damage to nerve cells if it is given within the first 8 hours after injury.  Rehabilitation programs combine physical therapies with skill-building activities and counseling to provide social and emotional support. Electrical simulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices may restore specific functions, including bladder, breathing, cough, and arm or leg movements, though eligibility for use of these devices depends on the level and type of the spinal cord injury.

Definition
Definition

A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord don't completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis

Treatment
Treatment

Improved emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities.  Respiratory complications are often an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury   About one-third of those with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing and require respiratory support. The steroid drug methylprednisolone appears to reduce the damage to nerve cells if it is given within the first 8 hours after injury.  Rehabilitation programs combine physical therapies with skill-building activities and counseling to provide social and emotional support. Electrical simulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices may restore specific functions, including bladder, breathing, cough, and arm or leg movements, though eligibility for use of these devices depends on the level and type of the spinal cord injury.

Prognosis
Prognosis

Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete.  An incomplete injury means that the ability of the spinal cord to convey messages to or from the brain is not completely lost. People with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function below the injury.  A complete injury is indicated by a total lack of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.  People who survive a spinal cord injury will most likely have medical complications such as chronic pain and bladder and bowel dysfunction, along with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and heart problems. Successful recovery depends upon how well these chronic conditions are handled day to day.

Surgery to relieve compression of the spinal tissue by surrounding bones broken or dislocated by the injury is often necessary, through timing of such surgery may vary widely.  A recent prospective multicenter trial called STASCIS is exploring whether performing decompression surgery early (less than 24 hours following injury) can improve outcomes for patients with bone fragments or other tissues pressing on the spinal cord.

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Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete.  An incomplete injury means that the ability of the spinal cord to convey messages to or from the brain is not completely lost. People with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function below the injury.  A complete injury is indicated by a total lack of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.  People who survive a spinal cord injury will most likely have medical complications such as chronic pain and bladder and bowel dysfunction, along with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and heart problems. Successful recovery depends upon how well these chronic conditions are handled day to day.

Surgery to relieve compression of the spinal tissue by surrounding bones broken or dislocated by the injury is often necessary, through timing of such surgery may vary widely.  A recent prospective multicenter trial called STASCIS is exploring whether performing decompression surgery early (less than 24 hours following injury) can improve outcomes for patients with bone fragments or other tissues pressing on the spinal cord.

Prognosis
Prognosis

Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete.  An incomplete injury means that the ability of the spinal cord to convey messages to or from the brain is not completely lost. People with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function below the injury.  A complete injury is indicated by a total lack of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.  People who survive a spinal cord injury will most likely have medical complications such as chronic pain and bladder and bowel dysfunction, along with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and heart problems. Successful recovery depends upon how well these chronic conditions are handled day to day.

Surgery to relieve compression of the spinal tissue by surrounding bones broken or dislocated by the injury is often necessary, through timing of such surgery may vary widely.  A recent prospective multicenter trial called STASCIS is exploring whether performing decompression surgery early (less than 24 hours following injury) can improve outcomes for patients with bone fragments or other tissues pressing on the spinal cord.

Definition

A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord don't completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis

Treatment

Improved emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities.  Respiratory complications are often an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury   About one-third of those with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing and require respiratory support. The steroid drug methylprednisolone appears to reduce the damage to nerve cells if it is given within the first 8 hours after injury.  Rehabilitation programs combine physical therapies with skill-building activities and counseling to provide social and emotional support. Electrical simulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices may restore specific functions, including bladder, breathing, cough, and arm or leg movements, though eligibility for use of these devices depends on the level and type of the spinal cord injury.

Prognosis

Spinal cord injuries are classified as either complete or incomplete.  An incomplete injury means that the ability of the spinal cord to convey messages to or from the brain is not completely lost. People with incomplete injuries retain some motor or sensory function below the injury.  A complete injury is indicated by a total lack of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.  People who survive a spinal cord injury will most likely have medical complications such as chronic pain and bladder and bowel dysfunction, along with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and heart problems. Successful recovery depends upon how well these chronic conditions are handled day to day.

Surgery to relieve compression of the spinal tissue by surrounding bones broken or dislocated by the injury is often necessary, through timing of such surgery may vary widely.  A recent prospective multicenter trial called STASCIS is exploring whether performing decompression surgery early (less than 24 hours following injury) can improve outcomes for patients with bone fragments or other tissues pressing on the spinal cord.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts spinal cord research in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major research institutions across the country.  Advances in research are giving doctors and patients hope that repairing injured spinal cords is a reachable goal.  Advances in basic research are also being matched by progress in clinical research, especially in understanding the kinds of physical rehabilitation that work best to restore function. Some of the more promising rehabilitation techniques are helping spinal cord injury patients become more mobile.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Spinal Cord Injuries
 

Patient Organizations
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
636 Morris Turnpike
Suite 3A
Short Hills
NJ
Short Hills, NJ 07078
Tel: 973-379-2690; 800-225-0292
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
P.O. Box 016960
R-48
Miami
FL
Miami, FL 33101-6960
Tel: 305-243-6001; 800-STANDUP (782-6387)
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Administration for Community Living
330 C St., NW
Washington
DC
Washington, DC 20201
Tel: 202-401-4634; 202-245-7316 (TTY)
National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
8400 Corporate Drive
Suite 500
Landover
MD
Landover, MD 20785
Tel: 301-459-5900; 800-346-2742; 301-459-5984 (TTY)
National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center
1717 6th Avenue South
Birmingham
AL
Birmingham, AL 35232
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
801 18th Street, NW
Washington
DC
Washington, DC 20006-3517
Tel: 202-USA-1300 (872-1300); 800-555-9140
United Spinal Association
120-34 Queens Boulevard, #320
Kew Gardens
NY
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Tel: 718-803-3782; 800-962-9629
Publications

Syringomyelia fact sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Spasticity information sheet compiled by NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Myoclonus fact sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).