Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury has been sustained the damage caused can vary depending on what part of the spine has been injured and what type of injury has occurred.

A spinal cord injury causes interruption in vital messages going to and from the brain, which may result in parts of the body no longer functioning properly. This may be because the spinal cord is swollen, known as spinal shock, which may last hours or weeks.

Once the swelling has gone down sensation and movement may return if the cord has only been partially damaged. If the injured person has sustained an incomplete injury it may take up to two years to recover.

In the case of complete injuries it is unlikely any function will return.

Not only can a spinal injury cause loss of muscle function and sensation it can also result in organs, such as the bladder and bowels experiencing loss of function. It can also affect a person’s ability to sweat below the level of injury as well the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure.

If the injury is sustained at a high level it is likely that the injured person will lose the ability to control their body temperature, and should injury be sustained even higher up the spine assistance with breathing will be required, often with the use of a ventilator.

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