What is Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)?
The spinal cord is made up of nerves that run through the backbone and help control the body’s muscles, enabling a person to move their body, feel pressure and control vital functions such as their breathing, bladder and bowels.
If the spinal cord is damaged, messages travelling from the brain to the rest of the body are disrupted and can result in a loss of sensation and movement from below the point of injury.
Whilst the most common cause of spinal cord injury (SCI) is often trauma, it can also arise as a result of an infection or disease.
Levels of Spinal Cord Injury
The higher up the location of the injury in the spinal cord, the greater proportion of the body will be affected. Just as each person is unique, so too is each injury: people with SCI will often experience varying degrees sensation and loss of mobility.
SCI can be broken down into two different types of paralysis:
Damaging the spinal cord in the mid/lower part of the back results in paraplegia.
Paraplegia affects the movement and sensation in your legs and can also affect the muscles within the stomach.
Tetraplegia (also known as Quadraplegia)
Damaging the spinal cord in the neck results in tetraplegia/quadraplegia.
Tetraplegia affects movement and sensation in all four limbs, in addition to the stomach and some chest muscles.