The spinal cord is the major bundle of nerves carrying nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. Rings of bone, called vertebrae, surround the spinal cord. These bones constitute the spinal column or back bones.
Spinal cord injury can be direct trauma to the spinal cord itself or indirect damage to the bones, soft tissues, and blood vessels surrounding the spinal cord.
By Michael Castleman
Chew gum, listen to music, or try hypnosis for real pain
Thanks to a history of bad reactions, Louanne Weston was willing to do
almost anything to avoid anesthesia. So when her doctor advised surgery to
remove uterine fibroids that were causing cramps and heavy bleeding during her
period, Weston went looking for an anesthesia alternative. She found
hypnosis—and her doctor agreed to give it a try.
“Under hypnosis, I visited the moon, a beach, and...
Spinal cord damage results in a loss of function, such as mobility or feeling. In most people who have spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is intact. Spinal cord injury is not the same as back injury, which may result from pinched nerves or ruptured disks. Even when a person sustains a break in a vertebra or vertebrae, there may not be any spinal cord injury if the spinal cord itself is not affected.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries may result from falls, diseases like polio or spina bifida (a disorder involving incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or their protective coverings), motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, industrial accidents, and assaults, among other causes. If the spine is weak because of another condition, such as arthritis, minor injuries can cause spinal cord trauma.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury
There are two kinds of spinal cord injury -- complete and incomplete. In a complete injury, a person loses all ability to feel and voluntarily move below the level of the injury. In an incomplete injury, there is some functioning below the level of the injury.