Spinal cord injuries occur most often in adolescents, young adults, and the elderly. Males are more at risk for spinal cord injuries than females. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Nerve impulses that control body movement travel between the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body. Your nervous system also keeps organs like your heart and your bladder working.
A spinal cord injury occurs when the nerves within the spine are damaged.
This damage is often caused by trauma such as a car accident or other injury. The spinal cord can be divided into the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral areas and a spinal cord injury can occur at any of these regions. Your healthcare provider may refer to a level of injury within these regions to describe a spinal cord injury. Usually, the higher in the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more body function is lost. Complications of a SCI vary greatly but may include being at a higher risk for infections or changes in bowel and bladder function. Your therapist can teach you how to move again using the function that is available.
Learning to return to meaningful activities in your life is an important part of therapy. Treatments and rehabilitation allow many people with a spinal cord injury to lead independent and productive lives. Additionally, research studies are being conducted around the world and scientists are optimistic about new treatment options for the repair of spinal cord injuries.