Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a medical condition that occurs when the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that runs down the spine and carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body, is damaged. These injuries can result in a wide range of symptoms and disabilities, depending on the location and severity of the injury.
Spinal cord injuries can be classified into two main categories:
Complete SCI: In this type of injury, there is a complete loss of sensation and motor function below the level of the injury. This means that the person has no feeling or voluntary muscle control in the areas of the body below the level of the injury. The most severe form of complete SCI is known as "quadriplegia" or "tetraplegia," which involves paralysis of all four limbs and often affects the muscles involved in breathing.
Incomplete SCI: In incomplete SCI, some degree of sensory or motor function remains below the level of the injury. The extent of disability can vary widely, and people with incomplete SCI may retain some sensation or movement in the affected areas.
Spinal cord injuries can result from various causes, including traumatic events such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, or acts of violence. They can also be caused by non-traumatic conditions like tumours, infections, or degenerative diseases.
The consequences of a spinal cord injury can be life-altering, and individuals with these injuries often require extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and assistive devices to regain as much independence and function as possible. Treatment and rehabilitation for SCI can include surgery to stabilise the spine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and adaptive equipment to help individuals adapt to their new circumstances.
The exact prognosis and outcomes can vary greatly depending on the specific details of the injury and the individual's response to treatment and rehabilitation.
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