3-rx.comCustomer Support
HomeAbout UsFAQContactHelp
News Center
Health Centers
Medical Encyclopedia
Drugs & Medications
Diseases & Conditions
Medical Symptoms
Med. Tests & Exams
Surgery & Procedures
Injuries & Wounds
Diet & Nutrition
Special Topics

\"$alt_text\"');"); } else { echo"\"$alt_text\""; } ?>

You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Spinal Cord Injury
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System

Spinal Cord Injury

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Spinal cord injury, or SCI, is damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is protected by the bones of the spine, called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of each other. A tunnel goes through the bones. The spinal cord and nerves go from the brain to the tailbone in this tunnel. Nerves branch off from the spinal cord between each of the bones of the spine. Spinal cord trauma occurs when that protection is damaged.

The spinal cord is the part of the nervous system that runs down from the brain through a canal in the spine. It sends signals between the peripheral nerves in the body and the brain. Signals from sensations such as pain are sent up the peripheral nerves from organs such as the skin. Commands to move the body are known as motor impulses. These impulses begin in the brain and travel down the spinal cord. They then travel through the peripheral nerves into tissues, such as muscle, to produce movement.

What are the causes and risks of the injury?

Spinal cord trauma can be caused by:

  • fractures to the vertebrae
  • injuries that cause the vertebrae to move out of alignment
  • penetrating injuries such as stabbing or gunshot
  • severe stretching of the spine
  • Each year in the United States, there are about 10,000 spinal cord injuries that people survive. Of these injuries, half result in paraplegia and half in quadriplegia. The causes of these injuries are:

  • motor vehicle accidents (44%)
  • acts of violence (24%)
  • falls (22%)
  • sports (8%)
  • other reasons (2%)
  • Of those injured each year, 82% are male. The most common age at the time of injury is 19 years old. Sports produce a special set of risk statistics. Diving accidents cause 2/3 of spinal injuries during sports. Ninety-two percent of sports injuries result in quadriplegia. Alcohol in the bloodstream worsens spinal cord injuries. This is because bleeding can cause the alcohol to come into contact with spinal cord tissue.


    Next section


    Spinal Cord Injury: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: James Warson, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/20/01

    \"$alt_text\"');"); } else { echo"\"$alt_text\""; } ?>

    Home | About Us | FAQ | Contact | Advertising Policy | Privacy Policy | Bookmark Site