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Spinal Cord Injury Answers

Answers to frequently asked Questions about Spinal Cord Injury

What is the spinal cord?

Published: September 21, 2007

This may seem to be silly question but, until people get spinal cord injury or know somebody who is, most pay little attention to their spinal cords. Most people don’t know the different parts of the spinal cord, what each part does, and how the spinal cord transmits sensory and motor information. Many think that the spinal cord conducts information like a telephone wire and the spinal cord can be fixed by reconnecting it. Some people mistakenly believe that the spinal cord is the vertebral column. While almost everybody knows that spinal cord injury causes paralysis, many are not aware that the spinal cord also controls the bladder and bowel, sexual function, blood pressure, skin blood flow, sweating, and temperature regulation. Continue Reading »

What are the effects of SCI?

Published: July 9, 2007

The effects of SCI depend on the type of injury and the level of the injury. SCI can be divided into two types of injury – complete and incomplete. A complete injury means that there is no function below the level of the injury; no sensation and no voluntary movement. Both sides of the body are equally affected. An incomplete injury means that there is some functioning below the primary level of the injury. Continue Reading »

What is Spinal Cord Injury?

Published: June 4, 2007

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. Frequent causes of damage are trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, etc.) or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s Ataxia, etc.). Continue Reading »

What is the spinal cord and the vertebra?

Published: May 19, 2007

The spinal cord is about 18 inches long and extends from the base of the brain, down the middle of the back, to about the waist. The nerves that lie within the spinal cord are upper motor neurons (UMNs) and their function is to carry the messages back and forth from the brain to the spinal nerves along the spinal tract. The spinal nerves that branch out from the spinal cord to the other parts of the body are called lower motor neurons (LMNs). Continue Reading »

Why is my spinal cord important?

Published: February 27, 2007

spinalcordYour Spinal Cord is important because without a spinal cord your brain and your body couldn’t communicate with each other.

The spinal cord is the pathway for impulses from the body to the brain, and from the brain to the body. These impulses are different signals our brain sends and receives from our bodies.

The effects of Spinal Cord Injury depend on the type of injury and the level of the injury. SCI can be divided into two types of injury – complete and incomplete. Continue Reading »

I need help in getting something so I can use my computer. Can you help me?

Published: February 21, 2007
Head Master Plus

Head Master Plus

I’m a C3-C5 Quadriplegic with very little movement. If your able to move your head there are a few products to choose from…

Here is what I use…

I use a “Headmaster” to move my mouse. It has a sip/puff switch that I use to click. Continue Reading »


Published: December 13, 2005

Question: What are stem cells?

Answer: Stem cells have the potential to develop into different cell types in the body. A repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell could either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell or a brain cell. Continue Reading »

What is Paraplegia and Quadriplegia?

Published: November 18, 2005

Paraplegia is the loss of sensation and movement in legs and in part or all of the trunk, usually resulting from an injury to the spinal cord below the neck.

Quadriplegia (also Tetraplegia) is paralysis of all four limbs (from the neck down) resulting from injury to the neck. Fractures or compression of the vertebrae, which cause permanent damage to the spinal cord may lead to loss of sensation, movement, pain management, bladder and bowel control, as well as affecting sexual function.

What is autonomic dysreflexia?

Published: September 22, 2005

The Autonomic Nervous System often becomes hyperactive in people with spinal cord injury. Autonomic Dysreflexia manifests in large increases in blood pressure (hypertension) with systolic pressures exceeding 200 mm Hg, slow (Bradycardia) or fast heart rate (tachycardia), headaches, facial flushing, exuberant sweating, hyperthermia, stuffy nose, goose pimples, nausea, and other signs of autonomic hyperactivity. Called autonomic dysreflexia, these episodes may be spontaneously or may be instigated by infection, pain, or other conditions that stimulate the autonomic nervous system. Severe autonomic dysreflexia may be life-threatening. Continue Reading »

What is meant by the terms “complete” and “incomplete” injuries?

Published: September 22, 2005

Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and function below the injury level. Incomplete injuries result in partial loss.

“Complete” does not necessarily mean the cord has been severed. Each of the above categories can occur in paraplegia and quadriplegia.