Date posted: 28th September 2016

Spinal cord injury can occur at any time, to any person. In this blog, CPIMS presents all the facts, looking at the treatment for spinal cord injury, together with the causes and classifications of this type of injury.

What is spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord nerves are damaged. The nerves in the spine are used to send messages to the brain, which then delivers messages through to the rest of the body, helping with limb movements and vital functions. When the nerves in the spine are damaged, it affects their ability to communicate with the brain, which can result in a number of serious health problems, such as loss of movement and the inability to control bodily functions.

Any damage to the spinal cord could result in injury. The most common causes of spinal cord injury are illnesses, infections and accidents. At present, car and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord damage.

What are spinal cord injury symptoms?

In many cases, there are very few symptoms of spinal cord injury. However, if the injury is caused by an illness or infection, there may be some common spinal cord injury symptoms that you should be aware of.

These include:

  • Extreme back pain.
  • Pressure in the neck, head or back.
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in hands, fingers, feet or toes.
  • Severe weakness.

The level of spinal cord damage will affect the severity of the symptoms. The level of damage depends on the whereabouts of the injury. If the injury occurred higher up the spine, the damage is likely to be more acute and symptoms could potentially be worse.

Spinal cord injury treatment

Depending on the severity of the injury, patients are currently hospitalised between three and nine months. After being discharged, the SCI treatment is likely to continue until the patient reaches full recovery. Treatment for spinal cord injury will vary depending on each case. A doctor will deem the injury complete or incomplete, depending on how active the reflexes are following “spinal shock”. Incomplete spinal cord injury means that feeling and movement throughout the body has the potential to return, following a course of treatment.

All patients receive a course of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, which is designed to assist recovery from the injury by learning new styles of movement and completing strengthening exercises. Depending on the results of the rehabilitation, the healthcare professionals will tailor the goals to suit the patient.

If you would like to know more about spinal cord injury, please refer to the Spinal Cord Information leaflet. At CPIMS we pride ourselves on offering individual care to individual people. If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury, we can help. Contact us today for information about our services by calling 0844 3710616 or email

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